Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ted Berrigan

Before too many days go by, a poem from Ted Berrigan, American poet, born November 15, 1934; died July 4, 1983. Here is the last poem from The Sonnets, a landmark in postmodern American poetry. The poem collages a number of earlier sonnets along with Prospero’s words from The Tempest.

A FINAL SONNET

                                   for Chris

How strange to be gone in a minute!         A man
Signs a shovel and so he digs         Everything
Turns into writing a name for a day
                                                            Someone
is having a birthday and someone is getting
married and someone is telling a joke         my dream
a white tree         I dream of the code of the west
But this rough magic I here abjure         and
When I have required some heavenly music         which
    even now
I do         to work mine end upon their senses
That this aery charm is for         I'll break
My staff         bury it certain fathoms in the earth
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.
It is 5:15 a.m.                                      Dear Chris, hello.

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