Friday, August 12, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

What an amazingly honest and orginal voice.  John Berryman was one of a kind.

Dream Song 4
by John Berryman

Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken páprika, she glanced at me
Fainting with interest, I hungered back
and only the fact of her husband & four other people
kept me from springing on her

or falling at her little feet and crying
'You are the hottest one for years of night
Henry's dazed eyes
have enjoyed, Brilliance.' I advanced upon
(despairing) my spumoni.--Sir Bones: is stuffed,
de world, wif feeding girls.

--Black hair, complexion Latin, jewelled eyes
downcast . . . The slob beside her feasts . . . What wonders is
she sitting on, over there?
The restaurant buzzes. She might as well be on Mars.
Where did it all go wrong? There ought to be a law against Henry.
--Mr. Bones: there is.

Click on the title to go to's posting of Dream Song 4 and listen to the late John Berryman read it himself.  Click on the poet's name to learn more about John Berryman.


  1. I love Berryman, and this is certainly one of my favourites.

  2. An Aussie performance poet called Lyndon Walker used to read this one a lot (maybe still does). He did it justice, and I've loved it ever since. Good to be reminded of it here.


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