John Berryman, #313 of “The Dream Songs”


The Irish sunshine is lovely but a Belfast man
last night made a pass at my wife. Henry, who had passed out,
was horrified
to hear this news when he woke. The Irish sunshine
is lovely as it comes and goes. The country is full of con-men
as well as the lovely good.

Saints throng these shores, & ancient practices
continue in the dolmens, ruined castles
are standard.
The whole place is ghostly: no wonder Yeats believed in fairies
& personal survival. A trim suburban villa
also is haunted, by me.

Heaven made this place, also, assisted by men,
great men & weird. I see their shades move past
in full daylight.
The holy saints make the trees’ tops shiver,
in the all-enclosing wind. And will love last
further than tonight?

* * *

“A trim suburban villa / also is haunted, by me.” Doesn’t that just give you the chills? I love it. Fun fact about John Berryman: if you have a copy of my first book City of Cold Ribcages, you see that bridge on the cover? John Berryman killed himself by jumping off that bridge. Yikes. You could say that bridge has Berryman’s ghost in it too, a ghost of poetry, haunting it like the suburban villa. Ain’t poetry grand?

I Literally Feel a Rant Coming On
Robert Bly, “Poem Against the British”

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