The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where i first
fell in love
with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
the licorice sticks
and tootsie rolls
and Oh Boy Gum

Outside the leaves were falling as they died

A wind had blown away the sun

A girl ran in
Her hair was rainy
Her breasts were breathless in the little room

Outside the leaves were falling
and they cried
Too soon! too soon!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem The Pennycandystore Beyond The El


  1. Ajello says:

    Frederick Busch and I met Lawrence in 1959. All these years later and I’m sure of the year because I was a freshman in college. Unrhymed poetry? It was something new for me and my small brain rejected it as silly. Fred understood it right away and embraced the idea. But we both read and enjoyed CONEY OF MY MIND because we had grown up in Flatbush and well understood El’s and candy stores.
    When Fred died (somewhere near to 15 years ago) I went on a random search and this forgotten poem emerged. “Too Soon, Too Soon” was prophetic and remarkably poignant.
    I sent a copy with a note to Fred’s wife, Judy. “You guys never stopped talking about the old BMT and the candy stores and …..”:, she wrote back.

  2. beatdowntoyoursoul says:

    This poem is just an excellent example of the genius of Ferlinghetti. While the entire book “A Coney Island of the Mind” is fantastic, this poem truly does stick out. The mixing of concrete and abstract images helps paint a picture that the reader could feasibly encounter in his or her everyday life. The best line of the poem, in my opinion, is “a girl ran in, her hair was rainy” It’s so sad and and so unique in it’s phrasing. To call someones hair rainy, I don’t know, that line is the one line that will haunt me and inspire me at the same time; haunt me in the fact that I can never be 1/100th as good as Ferlinghetti and inspire to try.

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