(After Khalil Gibran) 2007
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!
Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) continues to be one of the most popular poetry books in the U.S., with over 1,000,000 copies in print. A prolific author, Ferlinghetti has over a dozen books currently in print, and his work has been translated into many languages. Among his poetry books are These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems, 1955-1993 (1993), A Far Rockaway of the Heart (1997), How to Paint Sunlight (2001), Americus Book I (2004), Poetry as Insurgent Art (2007), Time of Useful Consciousness (2012), and Blasts Cries Laughter (2014), all published by New Directions. His two novels are Her (1960) and Love in the Days of Rage (2001). City Lights issued an anthology of San Francisco poems in 2001. He is the translator of Paroles by Jacques Prévert (from French) and Roman Poems by Pier Paolo Passolini (from Italian.) In 2015 Liveright Publishing, a division of W.W. Norton, published his Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals (1960-2010). In 2017, New Directions published an anthology of his work titled Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems, and his latest book is a novel, titled Little Boy published by Doubleday in 2019.
Ferlinghetti passed away on February 22, 2021, at his home in San Francisco. He was 101.