Monday, November 14, 2011

Dream Song 4 by John Berryman


Dream Song 4


Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken páprika, she glanced at me
twice.
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.
This is a poem from Berryman's collection The Dream Songs. The visual created in the poem is clear and dynamic, even though parts of the poem (Henry and Mr. Bones) are not as easily understood. Those elements are carried through the rest of the poems in the collection, but "Dream Song 4" creates a scene that is at first humorous and then slowly transforms into a symbol of something more powerful. The last two lines give pause to the reader and forces him to contemplate deeper on the constructed scene.

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