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Delmore Schwartz - The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me

"the withness of the body" --Whitehead


The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.

Breathing at my side, that heavy animal,
That heavy bear who sleeps with me,
Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar,
A sweetness intimate as the water's clasp,
Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope
Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
--The strutting show-off is terrified,
Dressed in his dress-suit, bulging his pants,
Trembles to think that his quivering meat
Must finally wince to nothing at all.

That inescapable animal walks with me,
Has followed me since the black womb held,
Moves where I move, distorting my gesture,
A caricature, a swollen shadow,
A stupid clown of the spirit's motive,
Perplexes and affronts with his own darkness,
The secret life of belly and bone,
Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown,
Stretches to embrace the very dear
With whom I would walk without him near,
Touches her grossly, although a word
Would bare my heart and make me clear,
Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed
Dragging me with him in his mouthing care,
Amid the hundred million of his kind,
the scrimmage of appetite everywhere.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 5768 times | Comments and analysis of The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me by Delmore Schwartz Comments (2)

The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me - Comments and Information

Poet: Delmore Schwartz
Poem: The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me
Poem of the Day: Jun 26 2012

Comment 2 of 2, added on June 1st, 2009 at 2:11 PM.

One might easily read this poem under a feminist perspective as well.
Regardless of the poet's intention, this piece of poetry can also be a representaion of this other rebellious self within women that fails to speak and go against its social function.
Thus the bear becomes the body prisioner to this submissive soul, as in Foucault. The body of the Madwoman.


Davi Pinho from Brazil
Comment 1 of 2, added on February 2nd, 2006 at 10:27 AM.

This poem reflects the true nature of alcoholism and its hold on man. You have to read between the lines to understand this poem. This is an old poem written in the early 1930's and was written after prohibition and the effects of the 18th amendment. Alcoholism even back then was considered a social problem that got way out of hand and that is why the 18th amendment was enacted even though that created organized crime against the government and then the 21st amendment was created. In todays society alcoholism is so widespread that it has become a mental illness within oneself. I think everyone should read this poem and the burdens that each alcoholic bears.

Darla Wheeler from United States

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