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Posts tagged "John Berryman"


Eleven Addresses to the Lord (4, Stanzas 1-4) – John Berryman

If I say Thy name, art Thou there? It may be so.
Thou art not absent-minded, as I am.
I am so much so I had to give up driving.
You attend, I feel, to the matters of man.

Across the ages certain blessings swarm,
horrors accumulate, the best men fail:
Socrates, Lincoln, Christ mysterious.
Who can search Thee out?

except Isaiah & Pascal, who saw.
I dare not ask that vision, though a piece of it
at last in crisis was vouchsafèd me.
I altered then for good, to become yours.

Caretaker! take care, for we run in straits.
Daily, by night, we walk naked to storm,
some threat of wholesale loss, to ruinous fear.
Gift us with long cloaks & adrenalin.

Eleven Addresses to the Lord (1) – John Berryman

Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake,
inimitable contriver,
endower of Earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon,
thank you for such as it is my gift.

I have made up a morning prayer to you
containing with precision everything that most matters.
‘According to Thy will’ the thing begins.
It took me off & on two days. It does not aim at eloquence.

You have come to my rescue again & again
in my impassable, sometimes despairing years.
You have allowed my brilliant friends to destroy themselves
and I am still here, severely damaged, but functioning.

Unknowable, as I am unknown to my guinea pigs:
how can I ‘love’ you?
I only as far as gratitude & awe
confidently & absolutely go.

I have no idea whether we live again.
It doesn’t seem likely
from either the scientific or the philosophical point of view
but certainly all things are possible to you,
and I believe as fixedly in the Resurrection-appearances to Peter and

to Paul

as I believe I sit in this blue chair.
Only that may have been a special case
to establish their initiatory faith.

Whatever your end may be, accept my amazement.
May I stand until death forever at attention
for any your least instruction or enlightenment.
I even feel sure you will assist me again, Master of insight & beauty.

Eleven Addresses to the Lord (6) – John Berryman

Under new management, Your Majesty:
Thine. I have solo’d mine since childhood, since
my father’s suicide when I was twelve
blew out my most bright candle faith, and look at me.

I served at Mass six dawns a week from five,
adoring Father Boniface & you,
memorizing the Latin he explained.
Mostly we worked alone. One or two women.

Then my poor father frantic. Confusions & afflictions
followed my days. Wives left me.
Bankrupt I closed my doors. You pierced the roof
twice & again. Finally you opened my eyes.

My double nature fused in that point of time
three weeks ago day before yesterday.
Now, brooding thro’ a history of the early Church,
I identify with everybody, even the heresiarchs.

From "A Point Of Age" by John Berryman

Slow spent stars wheel and dwindle where I fell.
Physicians are a constellation where
The blown brain sits a fascist to the heart.
Late, it is late, and it is time to start.
Sanction the civic woe, deal with your dea,
Convince the stranger: none of us is well.

We must travel in the direction of our fear.

The Facts & Issues – John Berryman

I really believe He’s here all over this roomin a motor hotel in Wallace Stevens’ town.I admit it’s weird; and could–or could it?–not be so;but frankly I don’t think there’s a molecular chance of that.It doesn’t seem hypothesis. Thank heavensmillions agree with me, or mostly do,and have done ages of our human time,among whom were […]

The Carpenter’s Son – John Berryman

The child stood in the shed. The child went mad, later, & saned the wisemen. People gatheredas he conjoined the Jordan jointand he spoke with them until he got smotheredamongst their passion for mysterious healing had.They could not take his point: -Repent, & love, he told them frightened throngs, and it is so he did. […]