Monday, January 12, 2009

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 16 (John Berryman)

The Dream Songs
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Berryman, John
The Dream Song

I bought this a couple of years ago at an airport bookstore in Tampa. It was in December. We were visiting my mother for the holidays. I had nothing to read on the plane back to Buffalo, so I decided to buy a book. I am not sure which of the following is weirder: that this book was actually in an airport bookstore or the fact that I actually thought it would be good reading on an airplane. Well, I did buy it, and I did try to read it, and I didn't get very far. I keep meaning to go back and read it, but alas. Time, etc.

Here's a poem chosen at random:


There is an eye, there was a slit.
Nights walk, and confer on him fear.
The strangler tree, the dancing mouse
confound his vision; then they loosen it.
Henry widens. How did Henry House
himself ever come here?

Nights run. Tes yeux bizarres me suivent
when loth at landfall soft I leave.
The soldiers, Coleridge Rilke Poe
shout commands I never heard.
They march about, dying and absurd.
Toddlers are taking over. O

ver! Sabbath belling. Snoods converge
on a weary-daring man.
What now can be cleared up? From the Yard the visitors urge,
Belle thro' the graves in a blast of sun
to the kirk moves the youngest witch.

This is a picture of a "snood." In case you were wondering.


Gary said...

I know snoods very well, b/c of our neighborhood.

But you know what's weird. I always thought I hated John Berryman, and I liked reading that passage.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Yeah, there's definitely something going on there -- dense sentences, twisted syntax, a general sort of weirdness both of phrasing and of temperament. I'll get to it one of these days.