Oh You Gatherer

written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Oh You Gatherer

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Oh you gatherer
of the fine ash of poetry
ash of the too-white flame
of poetry

Consider those who have burned before you
in the so-white fire

Crucible of Keats and Campana
Bruno and Sappho
Rimbaud and Poe and Corso
And Shelley burning on the beach
at Viarreggio

And now in the night
in the general conflagration
the white light
still consuming us
small clowns
with our little tapers
held to the flame

About the poet


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. Author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of over one million copies. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Bronxville, New York on March 24, 1919. His mother, Albertine Mendes-Monsanto (born in Lyon, France) was of French/Portuguese Sephardic Jewish heritage. His father, Carlo Ferlinghetti, was born in the province of Brescia, Italy on March 14, 1872. He immigrated to the United States in 1894, was naturalized in 1896, and worked as an auctioneer in Little Italy, NYC. At some...

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