Bob Kaufman was one of the original Beat poets — in fact, it is said he coined the word “beatnik.” His work was often done to jazz accompaniment and he became famous at poetry readings in 1950s San Francisco.
I lived in the City for many years, including in North Beach, central to the Beat scene. It was an easy walk down the hill to Grant Street, and such places as the legendary Caffe Trieste — a coffee house long before Starbucks and other chains. And it’s still there, thankfully! So his and other poets of the era have a special place in my history and heart.
Here is a excerpt from “All Those Ships That Never Sailed”:
All those flowers that you never grew —
that you wanted to grow
The ones that were plowed under
ground in the mud —
Today I bring them back
And let you grown them
Bob Kaufman The Ancient Rain Poems 1956-1978, New Directions; first edition,1981.