Father Death Blues

Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home

Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.

by Allen Ginsberg

Comments (9)

.....most excellent...i like this ★
Allen This is a good poem, keep it up
Having heard him perform this several times with the harmonium, I can attest to the performance completely changing the experience of the poem. Some commenters don't seem to want to allow for the Buddhist context that permeates his work in this period, which I don't understand. We contextualize/historicize not to belittle but to better understand. For his mother, Ginsberg wrote a Kaddish on the occasion of her death - just 3 years before this poem for his father. It is but one part of a six or seven part series, and he is clearly exploring religious traditions in the face of death, loss.
Ginsberg and the aims of the beat generation. How we contemplated you? Yes Father Death Blues. Sing the blues and fly home in death, its a family affair. Child, Genius, Lover, Guru Death we considered you too, and its true, death is a teacher of the blues, alone with pain poverty too. Interesting you enclose Dharma Hinduism Death within Buddha Sangha Buddism Death. Both born in India yet Buddha largely rejected there, for the allure of chaste system and reincarnation. Yes Death an old family member at our fireside, Death our friend in travel, wherever we reside.
I love this..... it made me giggle a little... but i still love it
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