As a dog would have it, my first acquaintance with Allen Ginsberg poetry, began with ‘Howl’. There he was, the voice of rage and protest that defined the beat generation. A wallpaper featuring its raw opening lines adorned my bedroom wall. (Till Chimera, the rescue cat, shred it.)
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…
All these years later, I discovered another gem from Ginsberg.
The poem ‘Song’ is unpretentiously beautiful. A lyrical ode to love, one that ponders and prods with a surgeon’s dexterity — the rhymes, reasons and remains of love.
The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction
the weight, the weight we carry is love.
Who can deny? In dreams it touches the body, in thought constructs a miracle, in imagination anguishes till born in human– looks out of the heart burning with purity– for the burden of life is love,
but we carry the weight wearily, and so must rest in the arms of love at last, must rest in the arms of love.
No rest without love, no sleep without dreams of love– be mad or chill obsessed with angels or machines, the final wish is love –cannot be bitter, cannot deny, cannot withhold if denied:
the weight is too heavy
–must give for no return as thought is given in solitude in all the excellence of its excess.
The warm bodies shine together in the darkness, the hand moves to the center of the flesh, the skin trembles in happiness and the soul comes joyful to the eye–
yes, yes, that’s what I wanted, I always wanted, I always wanted, to return to the body where I was born.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
And if you dare to venture into the intimidating emptiness, you’d know that the weight of the world is love, indeed. Complement this with Bukowski’s drunken genius on how love and loss make the mightiest of men tremble. Then revisit Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a dog which flows like a lucid dream because sometimes memories, you just can’t sort.