A Coney Island of the Mind, 6
They were putting up the statue of Saint Francis in front of the church of Saint Francis in the city of San Francisco in a little side street just off the Avenue where no birds sang and the sun was coming up on time in its usual fashion and just beginning to shine on the statue of Saint Francis where no birds sang And a lot of old Italians were standing all around in the little side street just off the Avenue watching the wily workers who were hoisting up the statue with a chain and a crane and other implements And a lot of young reporters in button-down clothes were taking down the words of one young priest who was propping up the statue with all his arguments And all the while while no birds sang any Saint Francis Passion and while the lookers kept looking up at Saint Francis with his arms outstretched to the birds which weren’t there a very tall very purely naked young virgin with very long and very straight straw hair and wearing only a very small bird’s nest in a very existential place kept passing thru the crowd all the while and up and down the steps in front of Saint Francis her eyes downcast all the while and singing to herself
From A Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.