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Dream Song 136: While his wife earned the living, Rabbi Henry Analysis



Author: poem of John Berryman Type: poem Views: 5

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While his wife earned the living, Rabbi Henry

studied the Torah, writing commentaries

more likely to be burnt than printed.

It was rumoured that they needed revision.

Smiling, kissing, he bent his head not with 'Please'

but with austere requests barely hinted,



like a dog with a bone he worried the Sacred Book

and often taught its fringes.

Imperishable enthusiasms.

I have only one request to make of the Lord,

that I may no longer have to earn my living as a rabbi

'Thou shalt make unto thee any graven image'



The sage said 'I merit long life if only because

I have never left bread-crumbs lying on the ground.

We were tested yesterday & are sound,

Henry's lady & Henry.

It all centered in the end on the suicide

in which I am an expert, deep & wide.'






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