Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ON GROWING OLD IN SAN FRANCISCO ~











On Growing Old in San Francisco



Two girls barefoot walking in the rain


 
Both girls lovely, one of them is sane

 
Hurting me softly

 
Hurting me though

 
Two girls barefoot walking in the snow



Walking in the white snow



Walking in the black



Two girls barefoot never coming back




_____________________
J A C K     G I L B E R T

Views of Jeopardy
Yale Series of Younger Poets, volume 58
with a foreword by Dudley Fitts
Yale  University Press, 1962 


 



Long before Jack Gilbert was anywhere near old — President Jack Kennedy was still alive, Martin Luther King was alive, Malcolm X was here, The Beatles and Stones had yet to land in the USA,
so far a monkey had been shot into space, but Jack Kerouac had begun his decline, and Jack Gilbert wrote this poem. I heard him read the poem when it was both raining and snowing outdoors, early April, and now Jack Gilbert was very old, taking the stage, and this was one of the first poems he brought forth, maybe it was the first poem of the evening; by the way he presented the poem, with the smallest commanding voice, I recall nothing afterwards. It was as if an old man, very old man, had never forgotten these girls, that weather, those times, that sighting, and the very place, and we were nowhere near San Francisco. And yet with his declining powers, we were. The whole room. He looked up and paused after reading this short poem as if to see if people were really paying attention and did they hear what he had just read? It was from his very first book of poems. The best poets remember every poem they wrote.








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