Poem Hunter
Sometime During Eternity
( / Bronxville, New York)

Sometime During Eternity

Poem By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Sometime during eternity
some guys show up
and one of them
who shows up real late
is a kind of carpenter
from some square-type place
like Galilee
and he starts wailing
and claiming he is hep
to who made heaven
and earth
and that the cat
who really laid it on us
is his Dad

And moreover
he adds
It's all writ down
on some scroll-type parchments
which some henchmen
leave lying around the Dead Sea somewheres
a long time ago
and which you won't even find
for a coupla thousand years or so
or at least for
ninteen hundred and fortyseven
of them
to be exact
and even then
nobody really believes them
or me
for that matter

You're hot
they tell him

And they cool him

They stretch him on the Tree to cool
And everybody after that
is always making models
of this Tree
with Him hung up
and always crooning His name
and calling Him to come down
and sit in
on their combo
as if he is THE king cat
who's got to blow
or they can't quite make it

Only he don't come down
from His Tree

Him just hang there
on His Tree
looking real Petered out
and real cool
and also
according to a roundup
of late world news
from the usual unreliable sources
real dead

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Comments (12)

Fantastic poem! Read it in college and have never forgotten it. Love to discuss it some day, My phone is: 530-525-4245. Terry - I was a friend of Tom Reid and John Reid both of whom I believe you knew in the 1950's.
Starting like a mythological story, the poem meanders to the bizarre and realities of the present day living with philosophical undertones. Thanks.
This poem puts everything in its place outside the box.
The Ancient Egyptians thought that a cat could have nine lives. These Mau cats and have been domesticated to become members of the households being used to hunt fish, birds, and rodents. They have been protected by the law as a manifestation of Bast, a feline goddess. Bast protected the fertility, the moon, and all the cats.The body of a dead cat was mummified and buried in a special cemetery. In the Celtic mythology, they have been respected as totem animals because those people thought that the cats have been the guardians of the gates to the Otherworld, the guardians of their treasures, and much more, a spiritual link between humans and the cosmos except the black cats that have been considered a sign of evil. In Norse mythology, the cats have been considered sacred for Freya, the goddess of love and beauty. During the Middle Ages, The Christians associated the black cats with Satan. The Japanese cats are called Maneki and are revered for drawing good fortune. In the Islamic religion, the cats are respected and protected because they were loved by the Prophet Mohammed. The first line is a contrast between the temporal and the atemporal meaning, '' Sometime during eternity'' (it is without the comma) . Then, the poet refers to the square-type-''However, in some places, magic squares is used as a general term to cover both the normal and non-normal ones, especially when non-normal ones are under discussion. Moreover, the term magic squares is sometimes also used to refer to various types of word squares.''(Wikipedia) . The poet considers Galilee be a magic square because he mentions the myth of the cat.Between the ''guys'' only one is a carpenter considering this myth of the cat, but the poet doesn't specify anything about his identity. This carpenter found proves regarding this situation, ''some henchmen leave lying around the Dead Sea somewheres a long time ago''. The poet is in searching for the ''king cat''(king, not King) . Regarding that fact that this king cat ''Only he doesn't come down/ from His Tree'', the poet suggests that this tree is, in fact, the tree of knowledge, so the conclusion is that the king cat is the serpent mentioned in the Bible. Thinking of the '' magic square'', non-normal words ''are under discussion''. According to a Chinese legend, the people were able to use this square ''in a certain way to control the river and protect themselves from floods.''(Wikipedia) . ''In about 1510 Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa wrote De Occulta Philosophia, drawing on the Hermetic and magical works of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. In its 1531 edition, he expounded on the magical virtues of the seven magical squares of orders 3 to 9, each associated with one of the astrological planets, much in the same way as the older texts did. This book was very influential throughout Europe until the counter-reformation, and Agrippa's magic squares, sometimes called kameas, continue to be used within modern ceremonial magic in much the same way as he first prescribed.The most common use for these kameas is to provide a pattern upon which to construct the sigils of spirits, angels or demons; the letters of the entity's name are converted into numbers, and lines are traced through the pattern that these successive numbers make on the kamea. In a magical context, the term magic square is also applied to a variety of word squares or number squares found in magical grimoires, including some that do not follow any obvious pattern, and even those with differing numbers of rows and columns. They are generally intended for use as talismans. For instance the following squares are: The Sator square, one of the most famous magic squares found in a number of grimoires including the Key of Solomon; a square to overcome envy, from The Book of Power, and two squares from The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the first to cause the illusion of a superb palace to appear, and the second to be worn on the head of a child during an angelic invocation.'' Also Lawrence Ferlinghetti ''concedes that the world would need to be populated by saints in order for pure anarchism to be lived practically ''(Wikipedia) .
lawrence, if you're reading this, i want you to know you're my favorite of the beat poets. in this poem you summon well the era of poetry read to jazz accompaniment. i wonder, at this stage of your life, whether your feelings about the king cat and the things your describe in this poem have changed any. wishing all the best to you, glen kappy