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“Dream Song 116” by John Berryman (1914 – 1972)
Through the forest, followed, Henry made his silky way,
No chickadee was troubled, small moss smiled
on his swift passage.
But there were those ahead when at midday
they met in a clearing and lookt at each other awhile.
To kill was not the message.
He only could go with them—odds? 20 to one-and-a-half;
pointless. Besides, palaver with the High Chief
might advance THE CAUSE.
Undoubtedly down they sat and they did talk
and one did balk & stuck but one did stalk
a creation of new laws.
He smoked the pipe of peace—the sceen? tepees,
wigwams, papooses, buffalo hides, a high fire—
with everyone,
even that abnormally scrubbed & powerful one,
shivering with power, held together with wires,
his worst enemy.