by John Berryman
Reflexions on suicide, & on my father, possess me.
I drink too much. My wife threatens separation.
She won’t ‘nurse’ me. She feels ‘inadequate.’
We don’t mix together.
It’s an hour later in the East.
I could call up Mother in Washington, D.C.
But could she help me?
And all this postal adulation & reproach?
A basis rock-like of love & friendship
for all this world-wide madness seems to be needed.
Epicetus is in some ways my favourite philosopher.
Happy men have died earlier.
I still plan to go to Mexico this summer.
The Olmec images! Chichèn Itzài!
D. H. Lawrence has a wild dream of it.
Malcolm Lowry’s book when it came out I taught to my precept at Princeton.
I don’t entirely resign. I may teach the Third Gospel
this afternoon. I haven’t made up my mind.
It seems to me sometimes that others have easier jobs
& do them worse.
Well, we must labour & dream. Gogol was impotent,
somebody in Pittsburgh told me.
I said: At what age? They couldn’t answer.
That is a damned serious matter.
Rembrandt was sober. There we differ. Sober.
Terrors came on him. To us too they come.
Of suicide I continually think.
Apparently he didn’t. I’ll teach Luke.
(Someone once told me no host could redeem Pittsburgh.;))
This verse is extraordinary in many ways. A lasting effect.