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Dream Song 22: Of 1826 Analysis

Author: poem of John Berryman Type: poem Views: 3

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I am the little man who smokes & smokes.

I am the girl who does know better but.

I am the king of the pool.

I am so wise I had my mouth sewn shut.

I am a government official & a goddamned fool.

I am a lady who takes jokes.

I am the enemy of the mind.

I am the auto salesman and lóve you.

I am a teenage cancer, with a plan.

I am the blackt-out man.

I am the woman powerful as a zoo.

I am two eyes screwed to my set, whose blind—

It is the Fourth of July.

Collect: while the dying man,

forgone by you creator, who forgives,

is gasping 'Thomas Jefferson still lives'

in vain, in vain, in vain.

I am Henry Pussy-cat!  My whiskers fly.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Berryman's subject is the inseparable despair and hope of America. He begins by enumerating the disregarded and discounted Americans, inverting the freighted language of cultural exclusion. Then he juxtaposes these descriptions with John Adams' last words, invoking Thomas Jefferson. Adams and Jefferson both died on the 4th of July, 1826. Although they had been bitter political rivals, they became close friends through correspondence. Americans today do not understand how politically tumultuous our nation's first 50 years were, and what the realization of this democracy meant to the founders.

| Posted on 2010-07-03 | by a guest

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