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“Dream Song 108” by John Berryman (1914 – 1972)
Sixteen below. Our care like stranded hulls
litter all day our little Avenues.
It was 28 below.
No one goes anywhere. Fabulous calls
to duty clank. Icy dungeons, though,
have much to mention to you.
At Harvard & Yale must Pussy-cat be heard
in the dead of winter when we must be sad
and feel by the weather had.
Chrysanthemums crest, far way, in the Emperor’s garden
and, whenever we are, we must beg always pardon
Pardon was the word.
Pardon was the only word, in ferocious cold
like Asiatic prisons, where we live
and strive and strive to forgive.
Melted my honey, summers ago. I told
her true & summer things. She leaned an ear
in my direction, here.