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Best Famous John Berryman Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Berryman poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Berryman poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Berryman poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Berryman poems.

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by John Berryman |

Dream Song 93: General Fatigue stalked in and a Major-General

 General Fatigue stalked in, & a Major-General,
Captain Fatigue, and at the base of all
pale Corporal Fatigue,
and curious microbes came, came viruses:
and the Court conferred on Henry, and conferred on Henry
the rare Order of Weak.

—How come dims one these wholesome elsers oh?
Old polymaths, old trackers, far from home,
say how thro' auburn hairtidbits of youth's grey climb.
My beauty id off duty!—

Henry relives a lady, how down vain,
spruce in her succinct parts, spruce everywhere.
They fed like muscles and lunched
after, between, before. He tracks her, hunched
(propped on red table elbows) at her telephone,
white rear bare in the air.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 31: Henry Hankovitch con guítar

 Henry Hankovitch, con guítar,
did a short Zen pray,
on his tatami in a relaxed lotos
fixin his mind on nuffin, rose-blue breasts,
and gave his parnel one French kiss;
enslaving himself he withdrew from his blue

Florentine leather case an Egyptian black
& flickt a zippo.
Henry & Phoebe happy as cockroaches
in the world-kitchen woofed, with all away.
The International flame, like despair, rose
or like the foolish Paks or Sudanese

Henry Hankovitch, con guítar,
did a praying mantis pray
who even more obviously than the increasingly fanatical Americans
cannot govern themselves. Swedes don't exist,
Scandanavians in general do not exist,
take it from there.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 88: Op. posth. no. 11

 In slack times visit I the violent dead
and pick their awful brains. Most seem to feel
nothing is secret more
to my disdain I find, when we who fled
cherish the knowings of both worlds, conceal
more, beat on the floor,

where Bhain is stagnant, dear of Henry's friends,
yellow with cancer, paper-thin, & bent
even in the hospital bed
racked with high hope, on whom death lay hands
in weeks, or Yeats in the London spring half-spent,
only the grand gift in his head

going for him, a seated ruin of a man
courteous to a junior, like one of the boarders,
or Dylan, with more to say
now there's no hurry, and we're all a clan.
You'd think off here one would be free from orders.
I didn't hear a single word. I obeyed.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 65: A freaking ankle crabbed his blissful trips

 A freaking ankle crabbed his blissful trips,
this whiskey tastes like California
but is Kentucky,
like Berkeley where he truly worked at it
but nothing broke all night—no fires—one dawn,
crowding his luck,

flowed down along the cliffs to the Big Sur
where Henry Miller's box is vomit-green
and Henry bathed in sulphur
lovely, hot, over the sea, like Senator
Cat, relaxed & sober, watery
as Tivoli, sir.

No Christmas jaunts for fractured cats. Hot dog,
the world is places where he will not go
this wintertide or again.
Does Striding Edge block wild the sky as then
when Henry with his mystery was two
& twenty, high on the hog?


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 94: Ill lay he long upon this last return

 Ill lay he long, upon this last return,
unvisited. The doctors put everything in the hospital
into reluctant Henry
and the nurses took it out & put it back,
smiling like fiends, with their eternal 'we.'
Henry did a slow burn,

collapsing his dialogue to their white ears
& shiny on the flanges. Sanka he drank
until his memories blurred
& Valerie was coming, lower he sank
and lovely. Teddy on his handlebars
perched, her. One word he heard

insistent his broad shortcomings, then lay still.
That middle-sized wild man was ill.
A hospital is where it all has a use,
so is a makar. . So is substantial God,
tuning in from abroad.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 113: or Amy Vladeck or Riva Freifeld

 or Amy Vladeck or Riva Freifeld

That isna Henry limping. That's a hobble
clapped on mere Henry by the most high GOD
for the freedom of Henry's soul.
—The body's foul, cried god, once, twice, & bound it—
For many years I hid it from him successfully—
I'm not clear how he found it

But now he has it—much good may it do him
in the vacant spiritual of space—
only Russians & Americans 
to as it were converse with—weel, one Frenchman
to liven up the airless with one nose
& opinions clever & grim.

God declared war on Valerie Trueblood, 
against Miss Kaplan he had much to say
O much to say too.
My memory of his kindness comes like a flood
for which I flush with gratitude; yet away 
he shouldna have put down Miss Trueblood.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 9: Deprived of his enemy shrugged to a standstill

 Deprived of his enemy, shrugged to a standstill
horrible Henry, foaming. Fan their way
toward him who will
in the high wood: the officers, their rest,
with p. a. echoing: his girl comes, say,
conned in to test

if he's still human, see,
therefore she get on the Sheriff's mike & howl
'Come down, come down'.
Therefore he un-budge, furious. He'd flee
but only Heaven hangs over him foul.
At the crossways, downtown,

he dreams the folks are buying parsnips & suds
and paying rent to foes. He slipt & fell.
It's golden here in the snow.
A mild crack: a far rifle. Bogart's duds
truck back to Wardrobe. Fancy the brain from hell
held out so long. Let go.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 134: Sick at 6 and sick again at 9

 Sick at 6 & sick again at 9
was Henry's gloomy Monday morning oh.
Still he had to lecture.
They waited, his little children, for stricken Henry
to rise up yet once more again and come oh.
They figured he was a fixture,

nuts to their bolds, keys to their bloody locks.
One day the whole affair will fall apart
with a rustle of fire,
a wrestle of undoing, as of tossed clocks,
and somewhere not far off a broken heart
for hire.

He had smoked a pack of cigarettes by 10
& was ready to go. Peace to his ashes then,
poor Henry,
with all this gas & shit blowing through it
four times in 2 hours, his tail ached.
He arose, benign, & performed.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 78: Op. posth. no. 1

 Darkened his eye, his wild smile disappeared,
inapprehensible his studies grew,
nourished he less & less
his subject body with good food & rest,
something bizarre about Henry, slowly sheared
off, unlike you & you,

smaller & smaller, till in question stood
his eyeteeth and one block of memories
These were enough for him
implying commands from upstairs & from down,
Walt's 'orbic flex,' triads of Hegel would
incorporate, if you please,

into the know-how of the American bard
embarrassed Henry heard himself a-being,
and the younger Stephen Crane
of a powerful memory, of pain,
these stood the ancestors, relaxed & hard,
whilst Henry's parts were fleeing.


by John Berryman |

Dream Song 111: I miss him. When I get back to camp

 I miss him. When I get back to camp
I'll dig him up. Well, he can prop & watch,
can't he, pink or blue,
and I will talk to him. I miss him. Slams,
grand or any, aren't for the tundra much.
One face-card will do.

It's marvellous how four sit down—beyond
my thought how many tables sometimes are 
in forgotten clubs
across & down the world. Your fever conned
us, pal. Will it work out, my solitaire?
The blubber's safe in the tubs,

the dogs are still, & all's well . . . nine long times
I loosed & buried. Then I shot him dead.
I don't remember why.
The Captain of the supply ship, playing for dimes, 
thinks I killed him. The black cards are red
and where's the others? I—