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Mr. Berryman's posthumous book of poems, Delusions, Etc., had been completed and was in proof before his death on January 7, 1972. The opening section, "Opus Dei," is a sequence of eight poems based on the offices of the day from Lauds to Compline—the lines above being quoted from Nones. Part two consists of five poems whose subject are George Washington ("Rectitude, and the terrible upstanding member"), Beethoven, Emily Dickinson, Georg Trakl, and Dylan Thomas. The thirteen poems in the third part include "Gislebertus' Eve," "Scholars at the Orchid Pavilion," "Ecce Homo," Tampa Stomp," and "Hello." The fourth part is arranged as a scherzo. It starts with "Navajo Setting the Record Straight" and ends with "Damn You, Jim D., You Woke Me Up." The concluding section is reflective and meditative in tone, with "The Prayer of the Middle-Aged Man," "Somber Prayer," "Minnesota Thanksgiving," and "A Usual Prayer," and a coda that rises to the high spirits of "King David Dances." Delusions, Etc. is an impressive collection of verse by one of the most original poets of our time, whose death at the height of his powers is a tragic loss to letters.
chair-borne, displayed then on a camel thorough the insufferable city, and burned. In other places, many other holy bishops, confessors, and martyrs. Thanks be to God. Interstitial Office BITTER upon conviction (even of the seven women jurors several wept) I will not kneel just now, Father. I know I must but being black & galled for these young men, sick with their savage Judge (‘we felt we had no alternative, since all their evidence was ordered stricken’)— deep fatigue. Conducting
deep now the dire age on, if it’s so, or mere a nightmare of one dark one, Mani’s by no means ultimate disciple. I wish You would clear this up. Moreover, I know it may extend millennia, or ever, till you tell somebody to. Meantime: Okay. Now hear this programme for my remnant of today. Corpuscle-Donor, to the dizzy tune of half a hundred thousand while I blink losing that horrid same scarlet amount and reel intact ahead: so of rare Heart repair my fracturing heart obedient to
canyons wild, gunfire & riot fan out new Detroit. Lord, long the day done—lapse, & by bootstraps, oaths & toads, tranquil microseconds, memory engulfing, odor of bacon burning again—phantasmagoria prolix— a rapture, though, of the Kingdom here here now in the heart of a child—not far, nor hard to come by, but natural as water falling, cupped & lapped & slaking the child’s dusty thirst! If He for me as I feel for my daughter, being His son, I’ll sweat no more tonight but happy hymn &
brainsick applause thick to sick ear, through sixteen panicked nights a trail of tilted bottles. I had no gun, and neither Wednesday nor Thursday did buy one but Friday and I put it in my bag and bought a wide-eyed and high-yaller whore for company of darkness. Deep in dream I saw myself upreared like William the Silent over his tomb in Delft, armoured and impotent; she shook me screaming. In another place I shuddered as I combed and saw my face. Swallowing, I felt myself deranged and
Minarets blot our horizon as I pen, my Lord. I feel myself a deep & old objection. You gave me not a very able father, joyless at last, Lord, and sometimes I hardly (thinking on him) perform my duty to you. Ah then I mutter ‘Forty-odd years past. Do I yet repine?’ and go about your business,— a fair wind and the honey lights of home being all I ask this wind-torn foreign evening. Amos FOR three insane things evil, and for four, will I vex Pekin in the latter days, their ancestors