Friday, July 13, 2012

Allen Ginsberg

I've been reading the fantastic book, Ginsberg: A Biography by Barry Miles. It's one of the best biographies I've ever read, weaving wonderful quotes from Ginsberg's journals with historical accounts of the time he was living and writing about. Reading this incredibly intimate journey of Ginsberg's life has affected me deeply, including a downloaded dream/mantra straight from my dreams (maybe Ginsberg sent it himself?). I'll share that with you in the next post. Throughout this reading/digesting experience, I keep thinking about Ginsberg's Father Death Blues, an incredibly powerful song poem he wrote when his father died, which in many ways, became his own epitaph.

There are many versions of it online, but the video below is my favorite, because he has reached the end of his life and is singing it for himself and it's such a beautiful embrace of death and life and music and poetry.

Father Death Blues

Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home

Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.
Allen Ginsberg

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