Poetry Friday (Sailing Edition)


All those ships that never sailed
The ones with their seacocks open
That were scuttled in their stalls …
Today I bring them back
Huge and transitory
And let them sail

All those flowers that you never grew—
that you wanted to grow
The ones that were plowed under
ground in the mud—
Today I bring them back
And let you grow them

All those wars and truces
Dancing down these years—
All in three flag swept days
Rejected meaning of God—

My body once covered with beauty
Is now a museum of betrayal.
This part remembered because of that one’s touch
This part remembered for that one’s kiss—
Today I bring it back
And let you live forever.

I breath a breathless I love you
And move you

Remove the snake from Moses’ arm …
And someday the Jewish queen will dance
Down the street with the dogs
And make every Jew
Her lover.

  — Bob Kaufman (1925 – 1986), Beat poet.

After learning of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kaufman took a Buddhist vow of silence. He withdrew from society and did not speak again until 1975, on the day the Vietnam War ended, when he walked into a coffee shop and recited this poem.