September on Jessore Road By Allen Ginsberg,1971


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September on Jessore Road 
Allen Ginsberg 

Millions of babies watching the skies 
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes 
On Jessore Road–long bamboo huts 
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts 

Millions of fathers in rain 
Millions of mothers in pain 
Millions of brothers in woe 
Millions of sisters nowhere to go 

One Million aunts are dying for bread 
One Million uncles lamenting the dead 
Grandfather millions homeless and sad 
Grandmother millions silently mad 

Millions of daughters walk in the mud 
Millions of children wash in the flood 
A Million girls vomit & groan 
Millions of families hopeless alone 

Millions of souls nineteenseventyone 
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun 
A million are dead, the million who can 
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan 

Taxi September along Jessore Road 
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load 
past watery fields thru rain flood ruts 
Dung cakes on treetrunks, plastic-roof huts 

Wet processions Families walk 
Stunted boys big heads don’t talk 
Look bony skulls & silent round eyes 
Starving black angels in human disguise 

Mother squats weeping & points to her sons 
Standing thin legged like elderly nuns 
small bodied hands to their mouths in prayer 
Five months small food since they settled there 

on one floor mat with small empty pot 
Father lifts up his hands at their lot 
Tears come to their mother’s eye 
Pain makes mother Maya cry 

Two children together in palmroof shade 
Stare at me no word is said 
Rice ration, lentils one time a week 
Milk powder for warweary infants meek 

No vegetable money or work for the man 
Rice lasts four days eat while they can 
Then children starve three days in a row 
and vomit their next food unless they eat slow. 

On Jessore road Mother wept at my knees 
Bengali tongue cried mister Please 
Identity card torn up on the floor 
Husband still waits at the camp office door 

Baby at play I was washing the flood 
Now they won’t give us any more food 
The pieces are here in my celluloid purse 
Innocent baby play our death curse 

Two policemen surrounded by thousands of boys 
Crowded waiting their daily bread joys 
Carry big whistles & long bamboo sticks 
to whack them in line They play hungry tricks 

Breaking the line and jumping in front 
Into the circle sneaks one skinny runt 
Two brothers dance forward on the mud stage 
Teh gaurds blow their whistles & chase them in rage 

Why are these infants massed in this place 
Laughing in play & pushing for space 
Why do they wait here so cheerful & dread 
Why this is the House where they give children bread 

The man in the bread door Cries & comes out 
Thousands of boys and girls Take up his shout 
Is it joy? is it prayer? “No more bread today” 
Thousands of Children at once scream “Hooray!” 

Run home to tents where elders await 
Messenger children with bread from the state 
No bread more today! & and no place to squat 
Painful baby, sick shit he has got. 

Malnutrition skulls thousands for months 
Dysentery drains bowels all at once 
Nurse shows disease card Enterostrep 
Suspension is wanting or else chlorostrep 

Refugee camps in hospital shacks 
Newborn lay naked on mother’s thin laps 
Monkeysized week old Rheumatic babe eye 
Gastoenteritis Blood Poison thousands must die 

September Jessore Road rickshaw 
50,000 souls in one camp I saw 
Rows of bamboo huts in the flood 
Open drains, & wet families waiting for food 

Border trucks flooded, food cant get past, 
American Angel machine please come fast! 
Where is Ambassador Bunker today? 
Are his Helios machinegunning children at play? 

Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID? 
Smuggling dope in Bangkok’s green shade. 
Where is America’s Air Force of Light? 
Bombing North Laos all day and all night? 

Where are the President’s Armies of Gold? 
Billionaire Navies merciful Bold? 
Bringing us medicine food and relief? 
Napalming North Viet Nam and causing more grief? 

Where are our tears? Who weeps for the pain? 
Where can these families go in the rain? 
Jessore Road’s children close their big eyes 
Where will we sleep when Our Father dies? 

Whom shall we pray to for rice and for care? 
Who can bring bread to this shit flood foul’d lair? 
Millions of children alone in the rain! 
Millions of children weeping in pain! 

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe 
Ring out ye voices for Love we don’t know 
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain 
Ring in the conscious of America brain 

How many children are we who are lost 
Whose are these daughters we see turn to ghost? 
What are our souls that we have lost care? 
Ring out ye musics and weep if you dare– 

Cries in the mud by the thatch’d house sand drain 
Sleeps in huge pipes in the wet shit-field rain 
waits by the pump well, Woe to the world! 
whose children still starve in their mother’s arms curled. 

Is this what I did to myself in the past? 
What shall I do Sunil Poet I asked? 
Move on and leave them without any coins? 
What should I care for the love of my loins? 

What should we care for our cities and cars? 
What shall we buy with our Food Stamps on Mars? 
How many millions sit down in New York 
& sup this night’s table on bone & roast pork? 

How many millions of beer cans are tossed 
in Oceans of Mother? How much does She cost? 
Cigar gasolines and asphalt car dreams 
Stinking the world and dimming star beams – 

Finish the war in your breast with a sigh 
Come tast the tears in your own Human eye 
Pity us millions of phantoms you see 
Starved in Samsara on planet TV 

How many millions of children die more 
before our Good Mothers perceive the Great Lord? 
How many good fathers pay tax to rebuild 
Armed forces that boast the children they’ve killed? 

How many souls walk through Maya in pain 
How many babes in illusory pain? 
How many families hollow eyed lost? 
How many grandmothers turning to ghost? 

How many loves who never get bread? 
How many Aunts with holes in their head? 
How many sisters skulls on the ground? 
How many grandfathers make no more sound? 

How many fathers in woe 
How many sons nowhere to go? 
How many daughters nothing to eat? 
How many uncles with swollen sick feet? 

Millions of babies in pain 
Millions of mothers in rain 
Millions of brothers in woe 
Millions of children nowhere to go 

November 14-16, 1971 

September on Jessore Road, sung by Allen Ginsberg 

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