Published on Academy of American Poets (

A Coney Island of the Mind, 8

       In Golden Gate Park that day
                                                    a man and his wife were coming along
           thru the enormous meadow
                                                      which was the meadow of the world
He was wearing green suspenders
                                                      and carrying an old beat-up flute
                                                                                                in one hand
     while his wife had a bunch of grapes
                                                       which she kept handing out
                                                               to various squirrels
                                                                                           as if each
                                                                     were a little joke

     And then the two of them came on
                                                    thru the enormous meadow
which was the meadow of the world
                                                          and then
                   at a very still spot where the trees dreamed
               and seemed to have been waiting thru all time
                                                                                     for them
                 they sat down together on the grass
                                                             without looking at each other
                      and ate oranges
                                           without looking at each other
                                                                                  and put the peels
                    in a basket which they seemed
                                                                     to have brought for that purpose
                       without looking at each other

      And then
                     he took his shirt and undershirt off
            but kept his hat on
                                                        and without saying anything
                fell asleep under it
                                              And his wife just sat there looking
at the birds which flew about
     calling to each other
                                 in the stilly air
       as if they were questioning existence
                                         or trying to recall something forgotten

But then finally 
                     she too lay down flat 
                                                    and just lay there looking up
                                                                                         at nothing
                   yet fingering the old flute
                                                            which nobody played
                       and finally looking over
                                                              at him
              without any particular expression
                                                             except a certain awful look
                        of terrible depression


From A Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poet and translator Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and the founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, California.

Date Published: 1958-01-01

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