Dream Song 29
There sat down, once, a thing on Henry's heart só heavy, if he had a hundred years & more, & weeping, sleepless, in all them time Henry could not make good. Starts again always in Henry's ears the little cough somewhere, an odour, a chime. And there is another thing he has in mind like a grave Sienese face a thousand years would fail to blur the still profiled reproach of. Ghastly, with open eyes, he attends, blind. All the bells say: too late. This is not for tears; thinking. But never did Henry, as he thought he did, end anyone and hacks her body up and hide the pieces, where they may be found. He knows: he went over everyone, & nobody's missing. Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up. Nobody is ever missing.
From The Dream Songs by John Berryman, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 by John Berryman. Used with permission.
John Berryman won widespread recognition and acclaim for his innovative, Pulitzer Prize-winning book 77 Dream Songs, a collection of sonnet-like poems whose wrenched syntax, scrambled diction, extraordinary leaps of language and tone, and wild mixture of high lyricism and low comedy plumbed the reaches of a human soul and psyche.
Date Published: 1959-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/dream-song-29