Away above a Harborful . . .

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti b. 1919 Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Away above a harborful
                                              of caulkless houses   
among the charley noble chimneypots
                  of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines   
             a woman pastes up sails
                                          upon the wind
hanging out her morning sheets
                                             with wooden pins
                                  O lovely mammal
                                             her nearly naked breasts   
                        throw taut shadows
                                             when she stretches up   
to hang at last the last of her
                                              so white washed sins   
                  but it is wetly amorous
                                                   and winds itself about her   
                     clinging to her skin
                                                   So caught with arms   
                                                                               upraised   
            she tosses back her head
                                              in voiceless laughter   
    and in choiceless gesture then
                                                 shakes out gold hair

while in the reachless seascape spaces

                           between the blown white shrouds   

         stand out the bright steamers

                                                to kingdom come

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Away above a Harborful...” from These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1955 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)

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Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti b. 1919

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Love, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Relationships, Nature, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lawrence  Ferlinghetti

Biography

As poet, playwright, publisher, and activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti helped to spark the San Francisco literary renaissance of the 1950s and the subsequent “Beat” movement. Like the Beats, Ferlinghetti felt strongly that art should be accessible to all people, not just a handful of highly educated intellectuals. His career has been marked by its constant challenge of the status quo; his poetry engages readers, defies popular . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Relationships, Nature, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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