Friday, August 2, 2013


from Poems To Fernando

It is written on the walls of the mountain
though I have not seen it:
I Love You Fernando.

Everytime a departure, another
eye not seen again, to make it easier;

But it must come from inside
this knowledge that I will live
      though you are not with me, here
      where I can see you.

Riding this broken road away, more alone
than even the beginning, when you were
Gone. Suddenly, & I clung to you, sending
messages direct to your heart
      where we are one
      & you must receive
these goodmornings to the clouds
this oneminded unrelenting reach to you
love & you only leaned over abysses
Holding onto pain : Let time not
change me! hanging into death
                                                    — til now
I have let flow a flicker in the sea
& it rushed forth giving,
so great is the need in the heart
for healing
      Love the prominence
      love the perfect measure
      we, just two frail receptacles
      & love the transforming splendor.

So this departure also
      how can I tell you good-bye?
Having loved another eye & leaving behind
this also, I am most alone.

Why is it I travel this road, this stark of sky
     & a musician walks to work
      his hands perhaps in his pockets
      music animates his step, gauging his life,
& go down over snows to a train
I don't care about?

Still alive, & yet to learn, or I would not
be here
penetrating pain itself to find you, uncover
what must be true
that you are not here and I must know
      who is half my life & deep
      as the blood runs in me.

What length of days before I lay down
      & the sorrow is turned upon itself,
that its depth be the source of joy
and I rise, unsevered?

                                                 french alps / 1-66.

Janine's passionate poem to her husband, the painter Fernando Vega, who would die suddenly in Spain in 1965, was written when she was twenty-four years old and published in her first book, from City Lights: Poems to Fernando (1968).

At that time, a book of poems issued by a woman from the legendary Beat household was uncommon. This untitled poem has been extracted from Janine's personal copy of the book, with her corrections and additions. See pages 22-23 for the poem — the two lines under the line "& it rushed forth giving" had been added in pen by Janine.

Please retool your own worn and much-loved copy of the book.

Janine Pommy Vega  ©  Bob and Susan Arnold

self-portrait drawing of Fernando Vega

photo of Janine Pommy Vega by Kenneth Pate