Ed Sanders

Two Poems About Samuel Beckett

A Stabbing Leads to a Life-Long Relationship

In the A.M. of January 7, 1938
Samuel Beckett was stabbed by someone
demanding money, & Beckett saying No
on a Paris street

The knife missed the heart
from the waddings of his coat
though it could have killed him.

A young woman named
Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil
returning from a concert
came to Sam’s distress
wrapped him in a friend’s overcoat
& swathed together a pillow ’neath
his head, then called for an ambulance

He was taken to a hospital
where he was saved

James Joyce loaned him a reading lamp
during his stay in the hospital

& Beckett corrected the proofs of Murphy.

He was discharged from l' hôpital on 1-23-38

And as for Suzanne the Savior — she was a
skilled pianist & teacher of piano
& for the next decades served Sam,
while fiercely protecting herself from the public
as she “moved into his life.”

In World War II living with Suzanne Sam stored dynamite for the Resistance in his house.

& so it went on unto the always.

The Premiere of Waiting for Godot in 1953

Late in the year his mate Suzanne brought “Waiting for Godot” to producer Roger Blin, who read it w/ care in part because Tristan Tzara had praised Beckett—

Blin soon agreed to put it on.

There was trouble locating a Theater
Finally Blin secured the tiny
Théâtre de Babylone

for an opening January 5, 1953

Godot had only four actors, in low-income
costumery, so they could wear their street clothes

& Blin wouldn’t need much illumination
beyond a spotlight & a barren tree on the stage.

Beckett attended rehearsals & work-ups, hesitating at first to butt in because of his lack of experience in Theater but soon he began to shape the acting & stage-business (and always thereafter) & took great charge of Godot & all future plays & scripts.

The opening was shouted to the rafters
& suddenly, at 47, Sam was famous.

Edward Sanders (born August 17, 1939 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American poet, singer, activist, author, publisher and founder of the rock band the Fugs and also the Woodstock Journal. Author of more than 20 books, he’s known for Poem from Jail, (City Lights Books, 1963), Tales of Beatnik Glory, and his manifesto, “Investigative Poetry.” Several of his books on the Manson Family came out between 1971 and 2015. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the American Book Award for Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century, Selected Poems 1961–1985.