Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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.

Credit


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.

Author


John Berryman

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