L. Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the most representative poets of the Beat Movement died three days ago (22 February 2021) at the age of 101.
He was also a painter, a publisher and the owner of the celebrated San Francisco bookstore City Lights.

In 1976, the year of his divorce, he wrote “People Getting Divorced” later published “Endless Life: Selected Poems.

 People Getting Divorced
 People getting divorced
           riding around with their clothes in the car   
    and wondering what happened
                       to everyone and everything   
                          including their other
                                                 pair of shoes
          And if you spy one
              then who knows what happened
                                              to the other
                                            with tongue alack   
    and years later not even knowing
                                if the other ever
                                         found a mate
                                   without splitting the seams   
                                      or remained intact
     and the sole
                      ah the soul
                                      a curious conception   
          hanging on somehow
                                      to walk again
                                                    in the free air   
                             once the heel
                                                  has been replaced 

This poem is a brilliant metaphor which compares a broken relationship to losing a shoe) and the speaker wonders what happened to the lost shoe in that pair (or to a lost partner).
After the couple splits up they may not even know what happened to the other, but, with a little patience and a few adjustments they can start walking/living againIn the last stanza the word sole, with reference to the shoe, becomes soul, that sound the same, referring to a person.

The layout of this poem, with each line starting ion a different margin on the paper, is similar to Ferlinghetti’s other poem Don’t let that horse”.

Le persone divorziate

Le persone che divorziano
girano con i vestiti in macchina
e chiedono che cosa sia successo
a ogni persone e ogni cosa
compreso il loro altro
paio di scarpe
E se ne scorgi uno
ti domandi cosa è successo
con la sua linguetta disperata
anni dopo nemmeno sanno
se l’altro ha mai
trovato un compagno
senza scucirsi del tutto
oppure è rimasto immutato
e la suola
ah l’anima sola
un concetto curioso
attaccata in qualche modo
per camminare di nuovo
nell’aria libera
una volta che il tacco
è stato sostituito


47 thoughts on “L. Ferlinghetti

  1. Thanks for sharing such an amazing poem, Luisa. Human behaviour has several dimensions, we use different ways to express our thoughts. As you can see searching for another pair of shoes is how much strongly connected to husband-wife relations.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, Luisa, how beautifully and strongly you remember Lawrence Ferlinghetti. What a creative and active life
    he led. I am quite taken with all he achieved including the very interesting poem about the shoe and
    the partner. Being divorced.
    Thank you


    Liked by 1 person

  3. le sue poesie, come questa ad es., sono di un’umanità sconvolgente: colgono un centro che fugge, che sfugge, con cui davvero non vorremmo mai fare i conti e, per questo non finiamo mai di fare i conti

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great personality, I was aware of him reading jack Kerouac, and the San Francisco counterculture, and the Summer of love 1968, a memorable year that I was a witness as a very young man then… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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