Dream Song 41: If We Sang In The Wood (And Death Is A German Expert)

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.

by John Berryman

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