Born in 1919 in New York, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a best selling poet of America to this day and a seminal promoter of the Beat Generation that many believe could not have existed without his entrepreneurship-- though he has never considered himself a "Beat Poet." He earned a doctoral degree in poetry at the Sorbonne in Paris with a dissertation entitled The City as Symbol in Modern Poetry: In Search of a Metropolitan Tradition. After leaving Paris he moved to San Francisco. Ferlinghetti with Peter Martin started a magazine there called City Lights, titled after the Charlie Chaplin film. He and Martin established their enterprize on the second floor of a building on Broadway and Columbus in North Beach. They then opened a bookstore on the floor below as an additional venture, naming it after the magazine. The City Lights Bookstore became one of the most widely known bookstores on the planet, and still stands in its original location today where a street has been named for Ferlinghetti. He began publishing original books by himself and others under the City Lights logo. His Pocket Poets Series made poetry books inexpensive, and the small attractive paperback is still a common style today. Ferlinghetti published Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' as Pocket Poets Number Four, and was tried on obscenity charges for doing so. He was declared innocent, a landmark victory for free speech that furthered the fame of City Lights Press and made Ferlinghetti instrumental in changing American mores toward a more progressive openness, helping to quell earlier hypocrisies. Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind has been in print for over fifty years and sold over a million copies. The following poem appeared in Wild Dreams of a New Beginning, Copyright (C) 1974 to 2016 by the author, and is used here by permission of this great American author and translator who has won the finest literary prizes of France, Italy, and Latin American countries. Ferlinghetti is fluent in French, Spanish and Italian.  His poem published first in 1974 is as prophetic as his work has often been.

Rough Song of Animals Dying
Lawrence FerlinghettiCopyright (C) 1974,1976

In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of the reality of existence
inside the ultimate computer
which is the universe
in which the Arrow of Time
flies both ways
through bent space
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of all the animals dying
all animals everywhere
dying & dying
the wild animals the longhaired animals
winged animals feathered animals
clawed & scaled & furry animals
rutting & dying & dying
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of creatures everywhere dying out
in shrinking rainforests
in piney woods & high sierras
on shrinking prairies & tumbleweed mesas
captured beaten strapped starved & stunned
cornered & traded
species not meant to be nomadic
wandering rootless as man
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of all the animals crying out
in their hidden places
in the still silent places left to them
slinking away & crawling about
through the dense underbrush
the last Great Thickets
beyond the mountains
crisscrossed with switchbacks
beyond the marshes
beyond the plains & fences
(the West won with barbed wire machines)
in the high country
in the low country
crisscrossed with highways
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of how they feed & rut & run & hide
In a dream within a dream I saw
how seals are beaten on the ice fields
the soft white furry seals with eggshell skulls
the Great Green turtles beaten & eaten
exotic birds netted & caged & tethered
rare wild beasts & strange reptiles & weird woozoos
hunted down for zoos
by bearded blackmarketeers
who afterwards ride around Singapore
in German limousines
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of the earth heating up & drying out
in the famous Greenhouse Effect
under its canopy of carbon dioxide
breathed out by a billion
infernal combustion engines
mixed with the sweet smell of burning flesh
In a dream within a dream I dreamt a dream
of animals calling to each other
in codes we never understand
The seal and steer cry out
in the same voice
as they are clubbed
in Chicago stockyards & Newfoundland snowfields
It is the same cry

The wounds never heal
in the commonweal of animals
We steal their lives
to feed our own
and with their lives
our dreams are sown
In a dream within a deam I dreamt a dream
of the daily scrimmage for existence
in the windup model of the universe
the spinning meat wheel world
in which I was a fish who eats his tail
in which I was a claw upon a beach
in which I was a snake upon a tree
in which I was a serpent's egg
a yin yang yolk of good and evil
about to consume itself

This amgazingly prophetic poem, ahead of it's time, published and copyrighted (c) 1974 & 1976 in Wild Dreams of a New Beginning, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is used here by permission to celebrate the genius of American's greatest contemporary poet, best selling American poet of the second half of the 20th century. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author and his publishers. Eco-Poetry is a completely non-profit volunteer website offering environmental education and hoping to inspire awareness of climate crisis emergency and climate justice action.