Dream Song 385
My daughter's heavier. Light leaves are flying.
Everywhere in enormous numbers turkeys will be dying
and other birds, all their wings.
They never greatly flew. Did they wish to?
I should know. Off away somewhere once I knew
Or good Ralph Hodgson back then did, or does.
The man is dead whom Eliot praised. My praise
follows and flows too late.
Fall is grievy, brisk. Tears behind the eyes
almost fall. Fall comes to us as a prize
to rouse us toward our fate.
My house is made of wood and it's made well,
unlike us. My house is older than Henry;
that's fairly old.
If there were a middle ground between things and the soul
or if the sky resembled more the sea,
I wouldn't have to scold.
my heavy daughter.
[This is the last of John Berryman’s Dream Songs, most of which are about loss, which works well here, for a November poem, and one about the sadness of aging — both for himself and his daughter. The whole way through, the Dream Songs are about fragments, things which don’t go together, and I love how here that sadness is paired with his love for his daughter, those light leaves flying.
I’ve written more about Berryman’s poems here (Dream Song 145) and here (Dream Song 1) (including links to more Dream Songs), if you’re interested.]
More like this:
Dream Song 29, John Berryman
Dream Song 14, John Berryman