Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919 – February 22, 2021) was an American poet, painter, social activist, and co-founder of San Francisco City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. Ferlinghetti was best known for his second collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind, which has been translated into nine languages and sold over a million copies.

Muni Art 2022 proudly honors this world renown poet who contributed so much to the cultural fabric of our city by featuring five of his poems as the inspiration for displayed art in 100 Muni buses throughout San Francisco.


The changing light at San Francisco
     is none of your East Coast light
             none of your
                         pearly light of Paris

The light of San Francisco
             is a sea light
                                an island light

And the light of fog
                      blanketing the hills
               drifting in at night
                      through the Golden Gate
                              to lie on the city at dawn

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Recipe for Happiness in Khabarovsk or Anyplace

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand café in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you

One fine day

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Populist Manifesto

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed up too long
In your closed worlds.

Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foothills and mountains,
out of your tepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we’ll to the woods no more.

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


At the Golden Gate

At the Golden Gate
A single plover far at sea
               wings across the horizon
A single rower almost out of sight
               rows his skull into eternity
And I take a Buddha crystal in my hand
               And begin becoming pure light

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


from What is Poetry?

It is what exists between the lines.

A true poem can create a divine still-
ness in the world.

It is made with the stillness of

It is far, far cries upon the beach at

It is a lighthouse moving its mega-
phone over the sea.

By Lawrence Ferlighetti