To the Oracle at Delphi
Great Oracle, why are you staring at me, do I baffle you, do I make you despair? I, Americus, the American, wrought from the dark in my mother long ago, from the dark of ancient Europa— Why are you staring at me now in the dusk of our civilization— Why are you staring at me as if I were America itself the new Empire vaster than any in ancient days with its electronic highways carrying its corporate monoculture around the world And English the Latin of our days— Great Oracle, sleeping through the centuries, Awaken now at last And tell us how to save us from ourselves and how to survive our own rulers who would make a plutocracy of our democracy in the Great Divide between the rich and the poor in whom Walt Whitman heard America singing O long-silent Sybil, you of the winged dreams, Speak out from your temple of light as the serious constellations with Greek names still stare down on us as a lighthouse moves its megaphone over the sea Speak out and shine upon us the sea-light of Greece the diamond light of Greece Far-seeing Sybil, forever hidden, Come out of your cave at last And speak to us in the poet's voice the voice of the fourth person singular the voice of the inscrutable future the voice of the people mixed with a wild soft laughter— And give us new dreams to dream, Give us new myths to live by!
Read at Delphi, Greece, on March 21, 2001 at the UNESCO World Poetry Day
Reprinted from San Francisco Poems by permission of City Lights Foundation. Copyright © 2001 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. All rights reserved.