April 25, 1994

I’ll settle for Immortality—
Not thru the body
    Not thru the eyes
        Star spangled high mountains
            waning moon over Aspen peaks;
But thru words, thru the breath
        of long sentences
loves I have, heart beating
        still,
inspiration continuous, exhalation of
        cadenced affection
These immortal survive America,
           survive the fall of States
        Departure of my body,
           mouth dumb dust
This verse broadcasts desire,
            accomplishment of Desire
Now and forever boys can read
            girls ream, old men cry
Old women sigh
            youth still come.

          7/19/92, Aspen

This article is part of The Nation’s 150th Anniversary Special Issue. Download a free PDF of the issue, with articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn and many more, here.

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) published three poems in The Nation in the 1990s. A 1959 letter to the editor he co-wrote is reprinted in this issue.