by Allen Ginsberg
Howl Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (line)
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels (line 25)
The poem contains two references to Native American spirituality (see also: line 13). Some Native American tribes use a hallucinogenic plant called "peyote" to induce visions at religious ceremonies.
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salvation and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second (line 62)
This line demonstrates the speaker's ambivalent attitude toward religion. On the one hand, the cathedrals are called "hopeless," as in, they fail to inspire hope. On the other hand, the people in prayer achieve "illumination" inside the cathedral, if only for a brief moment.
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years. (lines 76-78)
The phrase "eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani," means, roughly, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus Christ supposedly uttered it as he died on the Cross. Ginsberg adopts the story of Christ's death and resurrection as a metaphor for the resurrection of poor poets into jazz musicians. He portrays them as modern-day messiahs who sacrifice themselves for their art.