back to John Berryman

“Dream Song 124” by John Berryman (1914 – 1972)
Behold I bring you tidings of great joy—
especially now that the snow & gale are still—
for Henry is delivered.
Not only is he delivered from the gale
but he has a little one. He’s out of jail
also. It is a boy.
Henry’s pleasure in this unusual event
reminds me of the extra told at Hollywood & Vine
that TV cameras
were focussed on him personally then & there
and ‘Just a few words … Is it what you meant?
Was there a genuine sign?’
Couvade was always Henry’s favourite custom,
better than the bride biting off the penises, pal,
remember? All the brothers
marrying her in turn & dying mutilated
until the youngest put in instead a crowbar, pal,
and pulled out not only her teeth but also his brothers’ dongs & no doubt others’.