London Crossfigured

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti b. 1919 Lawrence Ferlinghetti
London

                  crossfigured   
                  creeping with trams

         and the artists on sundays
                                        in the summer   
   all ‘tracking Nature’
                               in the suburbs

             It
                could have been anyplace   
                         but it wasn’t
                              It was
                                       London

                                                and when someone shouted over

that they had got a model

                                  I ran out across the court

                     but then
                                 when the model started taking off
                her clothes
                                 there was nothing underneath
                                                                           I mean to say   
    she took off her shoes
                                     and found no feet   
                  took off her top
                                          and found no tit
                                                under it
                  and I must say she did look
                                                          a bit
                                                                ASTOUNDED
                         just standing there
                              looking down
                        at where her legs were
                                                         not

         But so very carefully then
                                                she put her clothes back on   
and as soon as she was dressed again
                                                      completely
                      she was completely
                                                 all right

                Do it again! cried someone
                                                       rushing for his easel

                But she was afraid to

                                       
                                           and gave up modelling   


            and forever after

                                                
                         slept in her clothes

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “London Crossfigured” 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 Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

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 Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

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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