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Berryman, John - John Berryman: Selected Poems

John Berryman

John Berryman: Selected Poems

Overview  |  Table of Contents
Early Poems 1935-1942
Note on E. A. Robinson
Elegy: Hart Crane
The Second Cactus
The Apparition
The Curse
To Bhain Campbell
from The Dispossessed (1948)
Winter Landscape
The Traveller
The Ball Poem
Parting as Descent
Letter to His Brother
The Animal Trainer (1)
The Animal Trainer (2)
1 September 1939
The Moon and the Night and the Men
A Poem for Bhain
Canto Amor
from The Nervous Songs
The Song of the Demented Priest
A Professor's Song
The Song of the Tortured Girl
A Winter-Piece to a Friend Away
New Year's Eve
Homage to Mistress Bradstreet (1956)
from Berryman's Sonnets (1967)
"He made, a thousand year ago, a-many songs"
1: "I wished, all the mild days of middle March"
3: "Who for those ages ever without some blood"
5: "The poet hunched, so, whom the worlds admire"
7: "I've found out why, that day, that suicide"
9: "Great citadels whereon the gold sun falls"
10: "You in your stone home where the sycamore"
11: "I expect you from the North. The path winds in"
13: "I lift--lift you five States away your glass"
14: "Moths white as ghosts among these hundreds cling"
18: "You, Lise, contrite I never thought to see"
19: "You sailed in sky-high, with your speech askew"
20: "Presidential flags! and the General is here,"
22: "If not white shorts--then in a princess gown"
23: "They may suppose, because I would not cloy your ear--"
24: "Still it pleads and rankles: 'Why do you love me?"
25: "Sometimes the night echoes to prideless wailing"
30: "Of all that weeks-long day, though call it back"
31: "Troubling are masks . . the faces of friends, my face"
33: "Audacities and fêtes of the drunken weeks!"
36: "Keep your eyes open when you kiss: do: when"
37: "Sigh as it ends . . I keep an eye on your"
43: "You should be gone in winter, that Nature mourn"
46: "Are we? You murmur 'not'. What of the night"
47: "How far upon these songs with my strict wrist"
51: "A tongue there is wags, down in the dark wood O:"
54: "It was the sky all day I grew to and saw."
60: "Today is it? Is it today? I shudder"
66: "Astronomies and slangs to find you, dear,"
67: "Faith like the warrior ant swarming, enslaving"
68: "Where the lane from the highway swerves the first drops fell"
70: "Under Scorpion both, back in the Sooner State"
71: "Our Sunday morning when dawn-priests were applying"
72: "A Cambridge friend put in,--one whom I used"
73: "Demand me again what Kafka's riddles mean,"
77: "Fall and rise of her midriff bells. I watch."
78: "On the wheat-sacks, sullen with the ceaseless damp,"
79: "I dreamt he drove me back to the asylum"
82: "Why can't, Lise, why shouldn't they fall in love?"
86: "Our lives before bitterly our mistake!--"
88: "Anomalous I linger, and ignore"
94: "Most strange, my change, this nervous interim.-"
96: "It will seem strange, no more this range on range"
97: "I say I laid siege--you enchanted me . ."
100: "I am interested alone in making ready,"
101: "Because I'd seen you not believe your lover,"
103: "A 'broken heart' .. but can a heart break, now?"
104: "A spot of poontang on a five-foot piece,"
106: "Began with swirling, blind, unstilled oh still,--"
107: "Darling I wait O in my upstairs box"
108: "I owe you, do I not, a roofer: though"
109: "Ménage à trois, like Tristan's,--difficult! . ."
112: "I break my pace now for a sonic boom,"
113: "'I didn't see anyone else, I just saw Lise'"
114: "You come blonde visiting through the black air"
115: "All we were going strong last night this time,"
from His Thought Made Pockets & the Plane Buckt (1958)
The Poet's Final Instructions
from The Black Book (i)
from The Black Book (iii)
A Sympathy, A Welcome
Note to Wang Wei
Poems 1950-1964
from The Black Book
The Will
Of Isaac Rosenfeld
Formal Elegy
from The Dream Songs:
from 77 Dream Songs (1964)
1: "Huffy Henry hid     the day,"
3: A Stimulant for an Old Beast
4: "Filling her compact & delicious body"
13: "God bless Henry. He lived like a rat,"
14: "Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so."
18: A Strut for Roethke
22: Of 1826
23: The Lay of Ike
24: "Oh servant Henry lectured till"
26: "The glories of the world struck me, made me aria, once."
28: Snow Line
29: "There sat down, once, a thing on Henry's heart"
30: "Collating bones: I would have liked to do."
34: "My mother has your shotgun. One man, wide"
36: "The high ones die, die. They die. You look up and who's there?"
37: Three Around the Old Gentleman
40: "I'm scared a lonely. Never see my son,"
41: "If we sang in the wood (and Death is a German expert)"
45: "He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back."
46: "I am, outside. Incredible panic rules."
48: "He yelled at me in Greek,"
50: "In a motion of night they massed nearer my post."
51: "Our wounds to time, from all the other times,"
53: "He lay in the middle of the world, and twitcht."
54. "'NO VISITORS' I thumb the roller to"
55: "Peter's not friendly. He gives me sideways looks."
63: "Bats have no bankers and they do not drink"
67: "I don't operate often. When I do,"
68: "I heard, could be, a Hey there from the wing,"
69: "Love her he doesn't but the thought he puts"
70: "Disengaged, bloody, Henry rose from the shell"
75: "Turning it over, considering, like a madman"
76: Henry's Confession
77: "Seedy Henry rose up shy in de world"
from His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (1968)
78: Op. posth. no. 1
79: Op. posth. no. 2
91: Op. posth. no. 14
93: "General Fatigue stalked in, & a Major-General,"
143: "--That's enough of that, Mr Bones. Some lady you make."
145: "Also I love him: me he's done no wrong"
147: "Henry's mind grew blacker the more he thought."
148: Glimmerings
150: "He had followers but they could not find him;"
151: "Bitter & bleary over Delmore's dying:"
152: "I bid you then a raggeder farewell"
153: "I'm cross with god who has wrecked this generation."
155: "I can't get him out of my mind, out of my mind,"
156: "I give in. I must not leave     the scene of this same death"
159: "Panic & shock, together. They are all going away."
192: "Love me love me love me love me love me"
135: "Tears Henry shed for poor old Hemingway"
239: "Am I a bad man? Am I a good man?"
279: "Leaving behind the country of the dead"
327: "Freud was some wrong about dreams, or almost all;"
350: "All the girls, with their vivacious littles,"
354: "The only happy people in the world"
366: "Chilled in this Irish pub I wish my loves"
381: "Cave-man Henry grumbled to his spouse"
382: "At Henry's bier let some thing fall out well:"
384: "The marker slants, flowerless, day's almost done,"
385: "My daughter's heavier. Light leaves are flying."
from Love & Fame (1970)
Freshman Blues
The Heroes
Have a Genuine American Horror-&-Mist on the Rocks
Of Suicide
The Hell Poem
Death Ballad
The Home Ballad
from Eleven Addresses to the Lord
1: "Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake,"
3: "Sole watchman of the flying stars, guard me"
6: "Under new management, Your Majesty:"
8: A Prayer for the Self
from Delusions, Etc.(1972)
from Opus Dei:
Washington in Love
Your Birthday in Wisconsin You Are 140
He Resigns
from Scherzo:
Henry by Night
Henry's Understanding
Defensio in Extremis
Somber Prayer
Overseas Prayer
Certainty Before Lunch
'How Do You Do, Dr Berryman, Sir?'
King David Dances
Biographical Note
Note on the Texts
Index of Titles and First Lines

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