Dream Song 70: Disengaged, bloody, Henry rose from the shell

Disengaged, bloody, Henry rose from the shell
where in theior racing start his seat got wedged
under his knifing knees,
he did it on the runners, feathering,
being bow, catching no crab. The ridges were sore
& tore chamois. It was not done with ease.

So Henry was a hero, malgré lui,
that day, for blundering; until & after the coach
said this & which to him.
That happy day, whenas the pregnant back
of Number Two returned, and he’d no choice
but to make for it room.

Therefore he rowed rowed rowed. They did not win.
Forever in the winning & losing since
of his own crew, or rather
in the weird regattas of this afterworld,
cheer for the foe. He sat himself to time
the blue father.

Analysis, meaning and summary of John Berryman's poem Dream Song 70: Disengaged, bloody, Henry rose from the shell

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