Saturday, June 14, 2014

Poems about Waiting: Playlist for June 13, 2014

I Am Waiting

By  Lawrence Ferlinghetti  

I am waiting for my case to come up  

and I am waiting

for a rebirth of wonder

and I am waiting for someone

to really discover America

and wail

and I am waiting  

for the discovery

of a new symbolic western frontier  

and I am waiting  

for the American Eagle

to really spread its wings

and straighten up and fly right

and I am waiting

for the Age of Anxiety

to drop dead

and I am waiting

for the war to be fought

which will make the world safe

for anarchy

and I am waiting

for the final withering away

of all governments

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming  

and I am waiting

for a religious revival

to sweep thru the state of Arizona  

and I am waiting

for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored  

and I am waiting

for them to prove

that God is really American

and I am waiting

to see God on television

piped onto church altars

if only they can find  

the right channel  

to tune in on

and I am waiting

for the Last Supper to be served again

with a strange new appetizer

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called

and I am waiting

for the Salvation Army to take over

and I am waiting

for the meek to be blessed

and inherit the earth  

without taxes

and I am waiting

for forests and animals

to reclaim the earth as theirs

and I am waiting

for a way to be devised

to destroy all nationalisms

without killing anybody

and I am waiting

for linnets and planets to fall like rain

and I am waiting for lovers and weepers

to lie down together again

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed  

and I am anxiously waiting

for the secret of eternal life to be discovered  

by an obscure general practitioner

and I am waiting

for the storms of life

to be over

and I am waiting

to set sail for happiness

and I am waiting

for a reconstructed Mayflower

to reach America

with its picture story and tv rights

sold in advance to the natives

and I am waiting

for the lost music to sound again

in the Lost Continent

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day

that maketh all things clear

and I am awaiting retribution

for what America did  

to Tom Sawyer  

and I am waiting

for Alice in Wonderland

to retransmit to me

her total dream of innocence

and I am waiting

for Childe Roland to come

to the final darkest tower

and I am waiting  

for Aphrodite

to grow live arms

at a final disarmament conference

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting

to get some intimations

of immortality

by recollecting my early childhood

and I am waiting

for the green mornings to come again  

youth’s dumb green fields come back again

and I am waiting

for some strains of unpremeditated art

to shake my typewriter

and I am waiting to write

the great indelible poem

and I am waiting

for the last long careless rapture

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn  

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting  

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Violin Concerto (2nd movement) by Phillip Glass


By  Thomas Hardy  

At last I entered a long dark gallery,

      Catacomb-lined; and ranged at the side

      Were the bodies of men from far and wide

Who, motion past, were nevertheless not dead.

      "The sense of waiting here strikes strong;

Everyone's waiting, waiting, it seems to me;

      What are you waiting for so long? —

            What is to happen?" I said.

"O we are waiting for one called God," said they,

      "(Though by some the Will, or Force, or Laws;

      And, vaguely, by some, the Ultimate Cause;)

Waiting for him to see us before we are clay.

      Yes; waiting, waiting, for God to know it." ...

      "To know what?" questioned I.

"To know how things have been going on earth and below it:

      It is clear he must know some day."

      I thereon asked them why.

"Since he made us humble pioneers

Of himself in consciousness of Life's tears,

It needs no mighty prophecy

To tell that what he could mindlessly show

His creatures, he himself will know.

"By some still close-cowled mystery

We have reached feeling faster than he,

But he will overtake us anon,

      If the world goes on."

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Mystical Songs (2 & 3) by Ralph Vaughan Williams


By  R. S. Thomas 

Moments of great calm,

Kneeling before an altar

Of wood in a stone church

In summer, waiting for the God  

To speak; the air a staircase  

For silence; the sun’s light  

Ringing me, as though I acted  

A great rôle. And the audiences  

Still; all that close throng

Of spirits waiting, as I,

For the message.

                         Prompt me, God;

But not yet. When I speak,  

Though it be you who speak  

Through me, something is lost.  

The meaning is in the waiting.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Qui habitat by Josquin des Prez


By  Charles Reznikoff  

So proudly she came into the subway car

all who were not reading their newspapers saw

the head high and the slow tread—

coat wrinkled and her belongings in a paper bag,

face unwashed and the grey hair uncombed;

simple soul, who so early in the morning when only the

    poorest go to work,

stood up in the subway and outshouting the noise:

“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, I have a baby at home who

    is sick,

and I have no money, no job;” who did not have box or cap

    to take coins—

only his hands,

and, seeing only faces turned away,

did not even go down the aisle as beggars do;

the fire had burnt through the floor:

machines and merchandise had fallen into  

the great hole, this zero that had sucked away so many years

and now, seen at last, the shop itself;

the ceiling sloped until it almost touched the floor—

    a strange curve

in the lines and oblongs of his life;

drops were falling  

from the naked beams of the floor above,

from the soaked plaster, still the ceiling;

drops of dirty water were falling

on his clothes and hat and on his hands;

the thoughts of business

gathered in his bosom like black water

in footsteps through a swamp;

waiting for a job, she studied the dusty table at which she sat

and the floor which had been badly swept—

the office-boy had left the corners dirty;

a mouse ran in and out under the radiator

and she drew her feet away

and her skirt about her legs, but the mouse went in and out

about its business; and she sat waiting for a job

in an unfriendly world of men and mice;

walking along the drive by twos and threes,

talking about jobs,

jobs they might get and jobs they had had,

never turning to look at the trees or the river

glistening in the sunlight or the automobiles

that went swiftly past them—

in twos and threes talking about jobs;

in the drizzle

four in a row

close to the curb

that passers-by might pass,

the squads stand

waiting for soup,

a slice of bread

and shelter—

grimy clothes

their uniform;

on a stoop

stiffly across the steps

a man

who has fainted;

each in that battalion

eyes him,

but does not move from his place,

well drilled in want.

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Bach's Blues by Oscar Peterson


By  Franz Wright  

It’s true I never write, but I would gladly die with you.

Gladly lower myself down alone with you into the enormous mouth

that waits, beyond youth, beyond every instant of ecstasy, remember:

before battle we would do each other’s makeup, comb each other’s

                   hair out

saying we are unconquerable, we are terrible and splendid—

the mouth waiting, patiently waiting. And I will meet you there


beyond bleeding thorns, the endless dilation, the fire that alters


I am there already past snowy clouds, balding moss, dim

swarm of stars even we can step over, it is easier this time, I promise—

I am already waiting in your personal heaven, here is my hand,

I will help you across. I would gladly die with you still,

although I never write 

from this gray institution. See

they are so busy trying to cure me,

I’m condemned—sorry, I have been given the job

of vacuuming the desert forever, well, no more than eight hours

                   a day.

And it’s really just about a thousand miles of cafeteria;

a large one in any event. With its miniature plastic knives,

its tuna salad and Saran-Wrapped genitalia will somebody


get me out of here, sorry. I am happy to say that

every method, massive pharmaceuticals, art therapy

and edifying films as well as others I would prefer

not to mention—I mean, every single technique

known to the mouth—sorry!—to our most kindly

compassionate science is being employed

to restore me to normal well-being

and cheerful stability. I go on vacuuming

toward a small diamond light burning

off in the distance. Remember

me. Do you

remember me?  

In the night’s windowless darkness

when I am lying cold and numb

and no one’s fiddling with the lock, or

shining flashlights in my eyes,

although I never write, secretly

I long to die with you,

does that count?

REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cello Sonata (2nd movement) by Samuel Barber

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