21 Total Quotes

John Berryman Quotes

Bats have no bankers and they do not drink and cannot be arrested and pay no tax and, in general, bats have it made.
John Berryman
#American Poet

We must travel in the direction of our fear.
John Berryman
#American Poet

We have reason to be afraid. This is a terrible place.
John Berryman
#Fear #Reason

The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business.
John Berryman
#American Poet

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
John Berryman
#American Poet

I didn't want to be like Yeats; I wanted to be Yeats.
John Berryman
#American Poet

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so. After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns, we ourselves flash and yearn, and moreover my mother told me as a boy (repeatedly) ''Ever to confess you're bored means you have no inner Resources.'' I conclude now I have no inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
John Berryman
#Bores And Boredom

Your face broods from my table, Suicide. Your force came on like a torrent toward the end of agony and wrath. You were christened in the beginning Sylvia Plath and changed that name for Mrs Hughes and bred and went on round the bend till the oven seemed the proper place for you. I brood upon your face, the geography of grief, hooded, till I allow again your resignation from us now though the screams of orphaned children fix me anew. Your torment here was brief, long falls your exit all repeatingly, a poor exemplum, one more suicide, to stack upon the others till stricken Henry with his sisters & brothers suddenly gone pauses to wonder why he alone breasts the wronging tide.
John Berryman
#Suicide

Full moon. Our Narragansett gales subside and the land is celebrating men of war more or less, less or more. In valleys, thin on headlands, narrow & wide our targets rest. In us we trust. Far, near, the bivouacs of fear are solemn in the moon somewhere tonight, in turning time. It's late for gratitude, an annual, rude roar of a moment's turkey's 'Thanks'. Bright & white their ordered markers undulate away awaiting no day. Away from us, from Henry's feel or fail, campaigners lie with mouldered toes, disarmed, out of order, with whom we will one. The war is real, and a sullen glory pauses over them harmed, incident to murder.
John Berryman
#Moon

If we sang in the wood (and Death is a German expert) while snows flies, chill, after so frequent knew so many all nothing, for lead & fire, it's not we would assert particulars, but animal; cats mew, horses scream, man sing. Or: men pslam. Man palms his ears and moans. Death is a German expert. Scrambling, sitting, spattering, we hurry. I try to. Odd & trivial, atones somehow for my escape a bullet splitting my trod-on instep, fiery. The cantor bubbled, rattled. The Temple burned. Lurch with me! phantoms of Varshava. Slop! When I used to be, who haunted, stumbling, sewers, my sacked shop, roofs, a dis-world ai! Death was a German home-country.
John Berryman
#Death

Bards freezing, naked, up to the neck in water, wholly in dark, time limited, different from initiations now: the class in writing, clothed & dry & light, unlimited time, till Poetry takes some, nobody reads them though, no trumpets, no solemn instauration, no change; no commissions, ladies high in soulful praise (pal) none, costumes as usual, turtleneck sweaters, loafers, in & among the busy Many who brays art is if anything fun. I say the subject was given as of old, prescribed the technical treatment, tests really tests were set by the masters & graded. I say the paralyzed fear lest one's not one is back with us forever, worsts & bests spring for the public, faded.
John Berryman
#Water

How this woman came by the courage, how she got the courage, Henry bemused himself in a frantic hot night of the eight of July, where it came from, did once the Lord frown down upon her ancient cradle thinking 'This one will do before she die for two and seventy years of chipped indignities at least,' and with his thunder clapped a promise? In that far away town who looky upon my mother with shame & rage that any should endure such pilgrimage, growled Henry sweating, grown but not grown used to the goodness of this woman in her great strength, in her hope superhuman, no, no, not used at all. I declare a mystery, he mumbled to himself, of love, and took the bourbon from the shelf and drank her a tall one, tall.
John Berryman
#Courage #Poems about Women #Song #Dreams

Tell it to the forest fire, tell it to the moon, mention it in general to the moon on the way down, he's about to have his lady, permanent; and this is the worst of all came ever sent writhing Henry's way. Ha ha, fifth column, quisling, genocide, he held his hands & laught from side to side a loverly time. The berries & the rods left him alone less. Thro' a race of water once I went: happiness. I'll walk into the sky. There the great flare & stench, O flying creatures, surely will dim-dim? Bars will be closed. No girl will again conceive above your throes. A fine thunder peals will with its friends and soon, from agony put the fire out.
John Berryman
#Moon

Thin as a sheet his mother came to him during the screaming evenings after he did it, touched F.J.'s dead hand. The parlour was dark, he was the first pall-bearer in, he gave himself a dare & then did it, the thing was quite unplanned, riots for Henry the unstructured dead, his older playmate fouled, reaching for him and never will he be free from the older boy who died by the cottonwood & now is to be planted, wise & slim, as part of Henry's history. Christ waits. That boy was good beyond his years, he served at Mass like Henry, he never did one extreme thing wrong but tender his cold hand, latent with Henry's fears to Henry's shocking touch, whereat he fled and woke screaming, young & strong.
John Berryman
#Dreams #Mothers #Mothers Day

While his wife earned the living, Rabbi Henry studied the Torah, writing commentaries more likely to be burnt than printed. It was rumoured that they needed revision. Smiling, kissing, he bent his head not with 'Please' but with austere requests barely hinted, like a dog with a bone he worried the Sacred Book and often taught its fringes. Imperishable enthusiasms. I have only one request to make of the Lord, that I may no longer have to earn my living as a rabbi 'Thou shalt make unto thee any graven image' The sage said 'I merit long life if only because I have never left bread-crumbs lying on the ground. We were tested yesterday & are sound, Henry's lady & Henry. It all centered in the end on the suicide in which I am an expert, deep & wide.'
John Berryman
#Suicide