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Dream Song 18: A Strut for Roethke

Westward, hit a low note, for a roarer lost
Across the Sound but north from Bremerton,
Hit a way down note.
And never cadenza again of flowers, or cost.
Him who could really do that cleared his throat
& staggered on.

The bluebells, pool-shallows, saluted his over-needs,
While the clouds growled, heh-heh, & snapped, & crashed.

No stunt he’ll ever unflinch once more will fail
(O lucky fellow, eh Bones?)—drifted off upstairs,
Downstairs, somewheres.
No more daily, trying to hit the head on the nail:
Thirstless: without a think in his head:
Back from wherever, with it said.

Hit a high long note, for a lover found
Needing a lower into friendlier ground
To bug among worms no more
Around um jungles where ah blurt ‘What for?’
Weeds, too, he favoured as most men don’t favour men.
The Garden Master’s gone.

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Poem Dream Song 18: A Strut for Roethke - John Berryman