Monday, September 11, 2006

Poem of the Week 9/11/2006: Henry's Understanding

Henry's Understanding

He was reading late, at Richard's, down in Maine,
aged 32? Richard & Helen long in bed,
my good wife long in bed.
All I had to do was strip & get into my bed,
putting the marker in the book, & sleep,
& wake to a hot breakfast.

Off the coast was an island, P'tit Manaan,
the bluff from Richard's lawn was almost sheer.
A chill at four o'clock.
It only takes a few minutes to make a man.
A concentration upon now & here.
Suddenly, unlike Bach,

& horribly, unlike Bach, it occured to me
that one night, instead of warm pajamas,
I'd take off all my clothes
& cross the damp cold lawn & down the bluff
into the terrible water & walk forever
under it toward the island.

John Berryman 1972

ALSO see the March 2006 archive for another poem from The Dream Songs that I love love love. I really will write on this blog again, but it may not be for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very powerful poem. Sarah, thanks for sending this! I know I wouldn't have read any poetry this week at all if you hadn't sent it.