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“Dream Song 97” by John Berryman (1914 – 1972)
Henry of Donnybrook bred like a pig,
bred when he was brittle, bred when big,
how he’s sweating to support them.
Which birthday of the brighter darker man,
the Goya of the Globe & Blackfriars, whom—
our full earth smiled on him
squeezing his old heart with a daughter loose
(hostages they áre)—the world’s produced,
so far, alarms, alarms.
Fancy the chill & fatigue four hundred years
award a warm one. All we know is ears.
My slab lifts up its arms
in a solicitude entire, too late.
Of brutal revelry gap your mouth to state:
Front back & backside go bare!
Cats’ blackness, booze, blows, grunts, grand groans.
Yo-bad yōm i-oowaled bo v’ha’l lail awmer h’re gawber!
—Now, now, poor Bones.