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Allen Ginsberg - Plutonian Ode

I

What new element before us unborn in nature? Is there
        a new thing under the Sun?
At last inquisitive Whitman a modern epic, detonative,
        Scientific theme
First penned unmindful by Doctor Seaborg with poison-
        ous hand, named for Death's planet through the 
        sea beyond Uranus
whose chthonic ore fathers this magma-teared Lord of 
        Hades, Sire of avenging Furies, billionaire Hell-
        King worshipped once
with black sheep throats cut, priests's face averted from
        underground mysteries in single temple at Eleusis,
Spring-green Persephone nuptialed to his inevitable
        Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew,
her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow, 
        black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor-
        able seasons before
Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry
        bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth
or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab'd
        flood
washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the
        lilac breeze in Eden--
Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,
        ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand
        sunny years
slowly round their axis in Sagittarius, one hundred 
        sixty-seven thousand times returning to this night

Radioactive Nemesis were you there at the beginning 
        black dumb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disil-
        lusion?
I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years
I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your
        dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,
Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao, 
        Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an
        Abyss of Light,
Sophia's reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirl-
        pools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!
Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that renders Self
        oblivion!
Grand Subject that annihilates inky hands & pages'
        prayers, old orators' inspired Immortalities,
I begin your chant, openmouthed exhaling into spacious
        sky over silent mills at Hanford, Savannah River,
        Rocky Flats, Pantex, Burlington, Albuquerque
I yell thru Washington, South Carolina, Colorado, 
        Texas, Iowa, New Mexico,
Where nuclear reactors creat a new Thing under the 
        Sun, where Rockwell war-plants fabricate this death
        stuff trigger in nitrogen baths,
Hanger-Silas Mason assembles the terrified weapon
        secret by ten thousands, & where Manzano Moun-
        tain boasts to store
its dreadful decay through two hundred forty millenia
        while our Galaxy spirals around its nebulous core.
I enter your secret places with my mind, I speak with 
        your presence, I roar your Lion Roar with mortal
        mouth.
One microgram inspired to one lung, ten pounds of 
        heavy metal dust adrift slow motion over grey
        Alps
the breadth of the planet, how long before your radiance
        speeds blight and death to sentient beings?
Enter my body or not I carol my spirit inside you,
        Unnaproachable Weight,
O heavy heavy Element awakened I vocalize your con-
        sciousness to six worlds
I chant your absolute Vanity.  Yeah monster of Anger
        birthed in fear O most
Ignorant matter ever created unnatural to Earth! Delusion
        of metal empires!
Destroyer of lying Scientists! Devourer of covetous
        Generals, Incinerator of Armies & Melter of Wars!
Judgement of judgements, Divine Wind over vengeful 
        nations, Molester of Presidents, Death-Scandal of
        Capital politics! Ah civilizations stupidly indus-
        trious!
Canker-Hex on multitudes learned or illiterate! Manu-
        factured Spectre of human reason! O solidified
        imago of practicioner in Black Arts
I dare your reality, I challenge your very being! I 
        publish your cause and effect!
I turn the wheel of Mind on your three hundred tons!
        Your name enters mankind's ear! I embody your
        ultimate powers!
My oratory advances on your vaunted Mystery! This 
        breath dispels your braggart fears! I sing your 
        form at last
behind your concrete & iron walls inside your fortress
        of rubber & translucent silicon shields in filtered
        cabinets and baths of lathe oil,
My voice resounds through robot glove boxes & ignot 
        cans and echoes in electric vaults inert of atmo-
        sphere,
I enter with spirit out loud into your fuel rod drums
        underground on soundless thrones and beds of
        lead
O density! This weightless anthem trumpets transcendent 
        through hidden chambers and breaks through 
        iron doors into the Infernal Room!
Over your dreadful vibration this measured harmony        
        floats audible, these jubilant tones are honey and 
        milk and wine-sweet water
Poured on the stone black floor, these syllables are
        barley groats I scatter on the Reactor's core, 
I call your name with hollow vowels, I psalm your Fate
        close by, my breath near deathless ever at your
        side
to Spell your destiny, I set this verse prophetic on your
        mausoleum walls to seal you up Eternally with
        Diamond Truth!  O doomed Plutonium.

                        II

The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight 
        lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn's 
        early light
he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between 
        Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic
& horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden
        with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength
around the world same time this text is set in Boulder,
        Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains
twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in 
        United States of North America, Western Hemi-
        sphere
of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around
        our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy
the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen 
        hundred seventy eight
Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East,
        Denver city white below
Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a 
        morning star high over the balcony 
above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill 
        from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge,
sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone
        cliffs above brick townhouse roofs
as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's
        summer green leafed trees.

                        III
                        
This ode to you O Poets and Orators to come, you
        father Whitman as I join your side, you Congress
        and American people,
you present meditators, spiritual friends & teachers,
        you O Master of the Diamond Arts,
Take this wheel of syllables in hand, these vowels and 
        consonants to breath's end
take this inhalation of black poison to your heart, breath
        out this blessing from your breast on our creation 
forests cities oceans deserts rocky flats and mountains 
        in the Ten Directions pacify with exhalation,
enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder
        through earthen thought-worlds
Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy
        this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind
        and body speech,
thus empower this Mind-guard spirit gone out, gone
        out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space,
        so Ah!
        
                                        July 14, 1978

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 961 times | Comments and analysis of Plutonian Ode by Allen Ginsberg Comments (2)

Plutonian Ode - Comments and Information

Poet: Allen Ginsberg
Poem: Plutonian Ode
Volume: Plutonian Ode
Year: Published/Written in 1978
Poem of the Day: Oct 22 2006

Comment 2 of 2, added on October 27th, 2008 at 12:21 PM.

I know this is very, very late, but someone else may benefit.

There is an *absolutely* wonderful recording of it. Look for Philip Glass' symphony no. 6. There are two discs - one with a soprano reading it, and the second disc (by far my favorite of the two) contains Ginsburg reading the poem over the same music. The soprano is in the background...thankfully.

Philip from United States
Comment 1 of 2, added on March 1st, 2006 at 5:27 PM.

Why is it so difficult to find an audio recording of Ginsberg's reading of this precious poem?

Christian Bartolf from Germany

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