from The Dream Songs

from The Dream Songs
John Berryman (1914--1972)


The thunder & the flaw of their great quarrel
abased his pen. He could not likely think.
He took himself out of it,
both wrong & right, beyond well beyond moral,
in the groves of meaningless rage, with ach & stink
unlike old shit

which loses its power almost in an hour,
ours burgeons. When I trained my wives,
I thought now they'd be professional:
they became professional, at once wedlocks went sour
because they couldn't complete with Henry, who sought
their realization. 
The J.P. coughed.

Married life is a boat
forever dubious, with the bilge stale.
there's no getting out of that. 
Gong & lightening crowd my returned threat,
I always wept at parade: I knew I'd fail: 
Henry wandered back on stage& sat. 

John Berryman was born John Smith in McAlister,
Oklahoma, was a teacher and scholar at Brown, Princeton,
and the University of Minnesota. Received the Pulitzer Prize
in 1965 and National Book Award in 1969.    

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