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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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Written by John Berryman | |

Sonnet 96

 It will seem strange, no more this range on range
Of opening hopes and happenings.
Strange to be One's name no longer.
Not caught up, not free.
Strange, not to wish one's wishes onward.
Strange, The looseness, slopping, time and space estrange.
Strangest, and sad as a blind child, not to see Ever you, never to hear you, endlessly Neither you there, nor coming.
Heavy change!— An instant there is, Sophoclean, true, When Oedipus must understand: his head— When Oedipus believes—tilts like a wave, And will not break, only iov iov Wells from his dreadful mouth, the love he led: Prolong to Procyon this.
This begins my grave.

Written 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—

Written 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.

More great poems below...

Written 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.

Written 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.
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.

Written 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.

Written by John Berryman | |

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

 Ill lay he long, upon this last return,
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.

Written 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?

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written by John Berryman | |

Dream Song 102: The sunburnt terraces which swans make home

 The sunburnt terraces which swans make home
with water purling, Macchu Pichu died
like Delphi long ago—
a message to Justinian closing it out,
the thousand years' authority, although
tho' never found exactly wrong

political patterns did indeed emerge;
the Oracle was conservative, like Lippmann,
roared the winds on the height,
The Shining Ones behind the shrine, whose verge
saw the impious plunged, 6000 statures
above the Temple shone

plundered, centuries plundered, first the gold
then bronze & marble, then the plinths,
then the dead nerve—
root-canal-work, ugh.
I—I still hold for the saviour of teeth, & I embrace only he threw me a vicious

Written by John Berryman | |

The Curse

 Oh, lay my ashes on the wind
That blows across the sea.
And I shall meet a fisherman Out of Capri, And he will say, seeing me, "What a Strange Thing! Like a fish's scale or a Butterfly's wing.
" Oh, lay my ashes on the wind That blows away the fog.
And I shall meet a farmer boy Leaping through the bog, And he will say, seeing me, "What a Strange Thing! Like a peat-ash or a Butterfly's wing.
" And I shall blow to YOUR house And, sucked against the pane, See you take your sewing up And lay it down again.
And you will say, seeing me, "What a strange thing! Like a plum petal or a Butterfly's wing.
" And none at all will know me That knew me well before.
But I will settle at the root That climbs about your door, And fishermen and farmers May see me and forget, But I'll be a bitter berry In your brewing yet.

Written by John Berryman | |

Dream Song 104: Welcome grinned Henry welcome fifty-one!

 Welcome, grinned Henry, welcome, fifty-one!
I never cared for fifty, when nothing got done.
The hospitals were fun in certain ways, and an honour or so, but on the whole fifty was a mess as though heavy clubs from below and from—God save the bloody mark—above were loosed upon his skull & soles.
O love, what was you loafing of that fifty put you off, out & away, leaving the pounding, horrid sleep by day, nights naught but fits.
I pray the opening decade contravene its promise to be as bad as all the others.
Is there something Henry miss in the jungle of the gods whom Henry's prayer to? Empty temples—a decade of dark-blue sins, son, worse than you.

Written by John Berryman | |

Sonnet 104 - A spot of poontang on a five-foot piece

 A spot of poontang on a five-foot piece,
Diminutive, but room enough .
like clay To finger eager on some torrid day .
Who'd throw her black hair back, and hang, and tease.
Never, not once in all one's horny lease To'have had a demi-lay, a pretty, gay, Snug, slim and supple-breasted girl for play .
She bats her big, warm eyes, and slides like grease.
And cuff her silly-hot again, mouth hot And wet her small round writhing—but this screams Suddenly awake, unreal as alkahest, My god, this isn't what I want!—You tot The harrow-days you hold me to, black dreams, The dirty water to get off my chest.