Ginsberg Poem on Death

April 25, 2008

Check out this Allen Ginsberg poem and let’s get some thoughts flowing about it below.

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

So what is going on here? Part of me wants to say that this poem is about everything we carry with us. All these people have died before the narrator (who is about to die himself), but he still carries little pieces of them with him, like the teachings of his father, or the love that he felt for a companion. I think Ginsberg is trying to reassure the reader that even in death little pieces of you are out in the ether of the world and because of that no one is ever lost. So it says “don’t mourn” because no one really dies. OR, he could be saying “don’t cry” because the life the narrator has lived was the fullest and he has truly embraced it with all the passion and audacity he could, so don’t mourn his passing because it is joyous – not sad.

Finally, it could just be a poem about the cycle of life and you shouldn’t mourn the passing of a soul because it returns to this world in a different form. Just some ideas. Maybe someone will have an idea in the comments section?


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