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John Berryman - Dream Song 3: A Stimulant for an Old Beast

Acacia, burnt myrrh, velvet, pricky stings.
—I'm not so young but not so very old,
said screwed-up lovely 23.
A final sense of being right out in the cold,
(—My psychiatrist can lick your psychiatrist.) Women get under 

All these old criminals sooner or later
have had it. I've been reading old journals.
Gottwald & Co., out of business now.
Thick chests quit. Double agent, Joe.
She holds her breath like a seal
and is whiter & smoother.

Rilke was a jerk.
I admit his griefs & music
& titled spelled all-disappointed ladies.
A threshold worse than the circles
where the vile settle & lurk,
Rilke's. As I said,—

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 9405 times | Comments and analysis of Dream Song 3: A Stimulant for an Old Beast by John Berryman Comments (4)

Dream Song 3: A Stimulant for an Old Beast - Comments and Information

Poet: John Berryman
Poem: 3. Dream Song 3: A Stimulant for an Old Beast
Volume: 77 Dream Songs
Year: Published/Written in 1964
Poem of the Day: Jun 26 2005

Comment 4 of 4, added on February 10th, 2012 at 11:02 AM.

You’re tllatoy right. All the Rock & Republic shoes are so versatile, great for Friday night and for brunch the morning after.

Anton from Mongolia
Comment 3 of 4, added on June 3rd, 2007 at 3:46 PM.

It's not free association (or at least not anymore than the other Dream Songs are). It is very clearly about infidelities with a younger person (a student, perhaps). Guilt tinged with images of excitement and eroticism.

Rilke was a jerk in that he was a manipulator, a womanizer, a terrible excuse for a friend who abandoned supportive lovers for benefactors, and an overall smarmy, phony guy who many literary giants of the time absolutely could not stand. (Beautiful poetry, though). See Robert Freedman's biography Life of A Poet.

Comment 2 of 4, added on January 12th, 2007 at 3:19 PM.

I don't enjoy this poem but I will say that it has great meaning.

Lauren from Armenia

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