English poetry

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Dream Song 104: Welcome, grinned Henry, welcome, fifty-one!

Welcome, grinned Henry, welcome, fifty-one!
I never cared for fifty, when nothing got done.
The hospitals were fun
In certain ways, and an honour or so,
But on the whole fifty was a mess as though
Heavy clubs from below

And from—God save the bloody mark—above
Were loosed upon his skull & soles. O love,
What was you loafing of
That fifty put you off, out & away,
Leaving the pounding, horrid sleep by day,
Nights naught but fits. I pray

The opening decade contravene its promise
To be as bad as all the others. Is
There something Henry miss
In the jungle of the gods whom Henry’s prayer to?
Empty temples—a decade of dark-blue
Sins, son, worse than you.


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Poem Dream Song 104: Welcome, grinned Henry, welcome, fifty-one! - John Berryman