What One Says to The Poet on The Subject of Flowers

Allen Ginsberg





“O Poètes, quand vous auriez
Les Roses, les Roses soufflées,
Rouges sur tiges de lauriers,
Et de mille octaves enflées!

Quand Banville en ferait neiger,
Sanguinolentes, tournoyantes,
Pochant l’oeil fou de l’étranger
Aux lectures mal bienveillantes!

De vos forêts et de vos prés,
O très paisibles photographes!
La Flore est diverse à peu près
Comme des bouchons de carafes!

Toujours les végétaux Français,
Hargneux, phtisiques, ridicules,
Où le ventre des chiens bassets
Navigue en paix, aux crépuscules ;

Toujours, après d’affreux dessins
De Lotos bleus ou d’Hélianthes,
Estampes roses, sujets saints
Pour de jeunes communiantes!

L’Ode Açoka cadre avec la
Strophe en fenêtre de lorette ;
Et de lourds papillons d’éclat
Fientent sur la Pâquerette.

Vieilles verdures, vieux galons !
O croquignoles végétales!
Fleurs fantasques des vieux Salons!
– Aux hannetons, pas aux crotales,

Ces poupards végétaux en pleurs
Que Grandville eût mis aux lisières,
Et qu’allaitèrent de couleurs
De méchants astres à visières !

Oui, vos bavures de pipeaux
Font de précieuses glucoses!
– Tas d’oeufs frits dans de vieux chapeaux,
Lys, Açokas, Lilas et Roses!…”

Alcide Bava*




“O Poets, if you could but own
To the red on the laurel’s firm stem
To the Roses, the Roses, blown,
With a thousand octaves swollen!

If Banville could make them snow,
Blood-stained, whirling in gyrations,
Blacking the eye of that stranger so,
Who sees wicked interpretations!

In your forests, by your paths,
O so placid photographers!
Like the stoppers on carafes,
The Flora’s more or less diverse!

Always the vegetables, French,
Absurd, consumptive, up for a fight,
Bellies of basset hounds they drench,
Peacefully passed in evening light;

Always, after fearful drawings
Of blue Lotus or that Sunflower,
Pink prints, subjects befitting
Girls in communion’s sweet hour!

The Asoka Ode agrees with the
Loretto window stanza; showers
Of bright butterflies, heavy, flutter,
Dunging on the daisy flowers.

Old verdures, old braided ribbons!
O vegetable biscuit bakes!
Fantastic flowers of old Salons!
– For cockchafers, not rattlesnakes,

Those vegetable dolls in tears
Grandville would have mislaid
In the margin, sucking colours
From spiteful stars with eye-shades!

Yes, the drooling of your flutes
Produces precious sugar!
– Heaps of fried eggs in old boots,
Lily, Lilac, Rose, Asoka!…”



*Alcide Bava is a pseudonym Arthur Rimbaud gave himself in a letter sent in August 15, 1871 to Théodore de Banville to whom the poem is dedicated

My Bed is Covered Yellow

Peter Orlovsky. Photo by Allen Ginsberg. San Francisco, 1955


“My bed is covered yellow – Oh Sun, I sit on you
Oh golden field I lay on you
Oh money I dream of you
More, More, cried the bed – talk to me more –
Oh bed that taked* the weight of the world –
all the lost dreams laid on you
Oh bed that grows no hair, that cannot be fucked
or can be fucked
Oh bed crumbs of all ages spiled* on you
Oh yellow bed march to the sun whear* yr journey will be done
Oh 50 lbs. of bed that takes 400 more lbs-
how strong you are
Oh bed, only for man & not for animals
yellow bed when will the animals have equal rights?
Oh 4 legged bed off the floor forever built
Oh yellow bed all the news of the world
lay on you at one time or another”

Peter Orlovsky

1957, Paris


*The misspellings appear in the original poem