Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Retired Ballerinas, Central Park West

Wild Dreams of a New Beginning

Sandinista Avioncitos


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

From Endless Life   Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Retired Ballerinas,
Central Park West

Retired ballerinas on winter afternoons
           walking their dogs
                           in Central Park West
         (or their cats on leashes –
                the cats themselves old highwire artists)
The ballerinas
             leap and pirouette
                     through Columbus Circle
           while winos on park benches
                  (laid back like drunken Goudonovs)
                hear the taxis trumpet together
                   like horsemen of the apocalypse
                                 in the dusk of the gods
It is the final witching hour
               when swains are full of swan songs
      to their bright cells
                                 in glass highrises
         or sit down to oval cigarettes and cakes
                                 in the Russian Tea Room
      or climb four flights to back rooms
                                 in Westside brownstones
                where faded playbill photos
                           fall peeling from their frames
                              like last year’s autumn leaves