There’s a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
‘Souls eat souls in the general emptiness’
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at Ojai
‘It’s all taking pace in one mind’
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There’s a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather’s Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confounded & swim nowhere
An orchestra onstage in Omaha
keeps on playing Handel’s Water Music
Horns fill with water
ans bass players float away on their instruments
clutching them like lovers horizontal
Chicago’s Loop becomes a rollercoaster
Skyscrapers filled like water glasses
Great Lakes mixed with Buddhist brine
Great Books watered down in Evanston
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhatta steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes

Analysis, meaning and summary of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem Wild Dreams Of A New Beginning


  1. Allison says:

    But within these knew beginnings
    and infamous flushes
    I ask the prophet for his word
    his promise, his compromise, his lure of hope
    For America, the world, is dwindiling, lost in darkness
    in shame, in fury in everlasting shock and dispair
    and still i know the truth
    i know and I can predict the future
    because the future has manifested itself to all
    how will we drive in twenty five years?
    how will we fly to the east?
    Mere walking isn’t the answer
    for half the population is obese.
    how long until we die
    lathargic we stand
    embarrased we fall
    in hundreds of thousands of years will America be discovered again?
    will gold, god, and glory be the basis for exploration?
    will history repeat itself completely obliviously?
    Or is it possible for human nature not to exist?
    I am a prophet and I know better.

  2. Richard Mumm says:

    Reply to Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Wild Dreams of a New Beginning

    And Whose the Hand that pulled the cord and doused the “City Lights”
    The water, the writer or the written word?

    Before the mighty waters…the roaring twenties
    Behind…the silence of Depression years.
    Oh how we long for flappers and cheap whiskey
    When begging bread and drowning in our tears.

    “America…I see you dying” said the prophet.
    Tell me…show me…that it isn’t true.
    Will you pass this crisis to see another dawn?
    I hope…I pray within me that you do.

    Rich Mumm September 4, 2005

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