Famous Quotes & Sayings

John Berryman Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 68 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by John Berryman.

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John Berryman Quotes 542663

The only happy people in the world
are those who do not have to write long poems — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2084848

Listen, for poets are feigned to lie, and I
For you a liar am a thousand times ... — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1043489

Hunger was constitutional with him,
women, cigarettes, liquor, need need need
until he went to pieces.
The pieces sat up & wrote. They did not heed
their piecedom but kept very quietly on
among the chaos. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 274163

That is our 'pointed task. Love & die. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1218923

All souls converge upon a hopeless mote
tonight, as though

the throngs of souls in hopeless pain rise up
to say they cannot care, to say they abide
whatever is to come.
My air is flung with souls which will not stop
and among them hangs a soul that has not died
and refuses to come home. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1672897

I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business: Beethoven's deafness, Goya's deafness, Milton's blindness, that kind of thing. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1004921

It's wonderful the way cats bound about,
it's wonderful how men are not found out
so far.
It's miserable how many miserable are
over the spread world at this tick of time.
These mysteries that I'm

rehearsing in the dark did brighter minds
much bother through them ages, whom who
finds
guilty for failure?
Up all we rose with the dawn, springy for pride,
trying all morning. Dazzled, I subside
at noon, noon be my gaoler

and afternoon the deepening of the task
poor Henry set himself long since to ask:
Why? Who? When?
--I don't know, Mr Bones. You asks too much
of such as you & me & we & such
fast cats, worse men. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1673184

You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you're merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that's always easiest. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1534721

However things hurt, men hurt worse. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1432696

Heartmating hesitating unafraid — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 809596

Dream Song 55
Peter's not friendly. He gives me sideways looks.
The architecture is far from reassuring.
I feel uneasy.
A pity, - the interview began so well:
I mentioned fiendish things, he waved them away
and sloshed out a martini
strangely needed. We spoke of indifferent matters
God's health, the vague hell of the Congo,
John's energy,
anti-matter matter. I felt fine.
Then a change came backward. A chill fell.
Talk slackened,
died, and began to give me sideways looks.
'Chirst,' I thought 'what now?' and would have askt for another
but didn't dare.
I feel my application failing. It's growing dark,
some other sound is overcoming. His last words are:
'We betrayed me. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 905121

I think that what happens in my poetic work in the future will depend on my being knocked in the face, and thrown flat, and given cancer, and all kinds of other things short of senile dementia. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 708966

The high ones die, die. They die. You look up and who's there? — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 233959

One must be ruthless with one's own writing or someone else will be. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 713146

Bats have no bankers and they do not drink and cannot be arrested and pay no tax and, in general, bats have it made. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1049435

I can offer you only: this world like a knife — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 708127

There is no such thing as Freedom (though it is the most important condition of human life, after Humility, -which does not exist either). There is only Slavery (walls around one) and absence-of-Slavery (ability to walk in any direction, or to remain still). — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 801666

That baby has got to learn things
including remaining erect & on deck & all,
her study of herself must include no wings.
She's sturdy, beautiful, & she will do, unless
the universal homage turns her head
as it might well do mine,
hypnotized by the Little Baby ... — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1150230

Something has been said for sobriety but very little. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1350274

Foes I sniff, when I have less to shout
or murmur. Pals alone enormous sounds
downward & up bring real.
Loss, deaths, terror. Over & out,
beloved: thanks for cabbage on my wounds:
I'll feed you how I feel:--

of avocado moist with lemon, yea
formaldehyde & rotting sardines O
in our appointed time
I would I could a touch more fully say
my countless mind. The senses are below,
which in this air sublime

do I repudiate. But foes I sniff!
My nose in all directions! I be so brave
I creep into an Arctic cave
for the rectal temperature of the biggest bear,
hibernating -- in my left hand sugar.
I totter to the lip of the cliff. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 482127

During those years he met his seminars,
went & lectured & read, talked with human beings,
paid insurance & taxes;
but his mind was not on it. his mind was elsewheres
in an area where the soul not talks but sings
& where foes are attacked with axes. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 967223

We are using our own skins for wallpaper and we cannot win. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 276532

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. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1962048

The Prayer of the Middle-Aged Man
Amid the doctors in the Temple at twelve, between mother & host at Cana implored too soon, in the middle of disciples, the midst of the mob, between High-Priest and Procurator, among the occupiers,
between the malefactors, and 'stetit in medio, et dixit, pax vobis' and 'ascensit ad mediam Personarum et caelorum,' dear my Lord,mercy a sinner nailed dead-centre too, pray not to late,-
for also Ezra stood between the seven & the six, restoring the new Law. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 429921

leave wizard Henry: at his lectern where
he's working on his phantasies: Disperse!
and everything goes worse
so the world fills with her knees, harmful & fair:
a medium where 'Fuck you' comes as no curse
but come as a sigh or a prayer. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2266557

Henry's Understanding
He was reading late, at Richard's, down in Maine,
aged 32? Richard & Helen long in bed,
my good wife long in bed.
All I had to do was strip & get into my bed,
putting the marker in the book, & sleep,
& wake to a hot breakfast.
Off the coast was an island, P'tit Manaan,
the bluff from Richard's lawn was almost sheer.
A chill at four o'clock.
It only takes a few minutes to make a man.
A concentration upon now & here.
Suddenly, unlike Bach,
& horribly, unlike Bach, it occurred to me
that one night, instead of warm pajamas,
I'd take off all my clothes
& cross the damp cold lawn & down the bluff
into the terrible water & walk forever
under it out toward the island. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2200336

Huffy Henry hid the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,
a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked. All the world like a woolen lover once did seem on Henry's side. Then came a departure.
Thereafter nothing fell out as it might or ought.
I don't see how Henry, pried open for all the world to see, survived.
What he has now to say is a long wonder the world can bear & be.
Once in a sycamore I was glad all at the top, and I sang.
Hard on the land wears the strong sea and empty grows every bed. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 143964

The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 247788

Is stuffed, de world, wif feeding girls. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 274707

A mind so dark it made one wonder if the Renaissance had ever really taken place. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 317880

I didn't want to be like Yeats; I wanted to be Yeats. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 400676

He had tried everything, cutting down (many devices), pipes, cigars, even cold turkey. He had quit once in Rome, for seven hours after breakfast, during the last two of which his (first) wife was begging him to take it up again. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 429646

I'd gotten used to hallucinations - but who can get used to the doubt that one of those dreadful visions is real? — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 430950

The worse anyone feels, the worse treated he is. Fools elect fools. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 501191

They say we have weak wills. Do you know about the two drunks who went to the film of The Lost Weekend. Came out staggering. "My God I'll never take another drink," said the first. "My God I'll never go to another movie." How's that for commitment? — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 523328

Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no
Inner Resources. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 543262

And there is another thing he has in mind
like a grave Sienese face a thousand years
would fail to blur the still profiled reproach of. Ghastly,
with open eyes, he attends, blind.
All the bells say: too late. This is not for tears;
thinking. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 559157

Springwater grow so thick it gonna clot and the pleasing ladies cease. I figure, yup, you is bad powers. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 646958

Love her he doesn't but the thought he puts
into that young woman
would launch a national product
complete with TV spots & skywriting
outlets in Bonn & Tokyo
I mean it — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 827419

I cry. Evil dissolves, and love, like foam;
that love. Prattle of children powers me home,
my heart claps like the swan's
under a frenzy of who love me and who shine. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 886918

I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature, — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 914507

He knows: he went over everyone, & nobody's missing. Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up. Nobody is ever missing. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 940341

Offering Dragons quarter is no good, they regrow all their parts and come on again. They have to be killed. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 946257

I ask for a decree
dooming my bitter enemies to laughter
advanced against them. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1015889

The splendour & the lose grew all the same, Sire. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1060222

This world is gradually becoming a place Where I do not care to be any more. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1203616

Yeats knew nothing about life: it was all symbols
& Wordsworthian egotism: Yeats on Cemetery Ridge
would not have been scared, like you & me,
he would have been, before the bullet that was his,
studying the movements of the birds,
said disappointed & amazed Henry. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1208295

So if I were talking to a young writer, I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1209820

Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1333329

The marker slants, flowerless, day's almost done,
I stand above my father's grave with rage,
often, often before
I've made this awful pilgrimage to one
who cannot visit me, who tore his page
out: I come back for more,
I spit upon this dreadful banker's grave
who shot his heart out in a Florida dawn
O ho alas alas
When will indifference come, I moan & rave
I'd like to scrabble till I got right down
away down under the grass
and ax the casket open ha to see
just how he's taking it, which he sought so hard
we'll tear apart
the mouldering grave clothes ha then Henry
will heft the ax once more, his final card,
and fell it on the start. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1609471

Dream Song 90: Op. posth. no. 13

In the night-reaches dreamed he of better graces,
of liberations, and beloved faces,
such as now ere dawn he sings.
It would not be easy, accustomed to these things,
to give up the old world, but he could try;
let it all rest, have a good cry.

Let Randall rest, whom your self-torturing
cannot restore one instant's good to, rest:
he's left us now.
The panic died and in the panic's dying
so did my old friend. I am headed west
also, also, somehow.

In the chambers of the end we'll meet again
I will say Randall, he'll say Pussycat
and all will be as before
whenas we sought, among the beloved faces,
eminence and were dissatisfied with that
and needed more. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1666483

We must travel in the direction of our fear. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1682587

Wishin' was dyin' but I gotta make it all this way to that bed on these feet. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1712433

The Traveller
They pointed me out on the highway, and they said
'That man has a curious way of holding his head.'
They pointed me out on the beach; they said 'That man
Will never become as we are, try as he can.'
They pointed me out at the station, and the guard
Looked at me twice, thrice, thoughtfully & hard.
I took the same train that the others took,
To the same place. Were it not for that look
And those words, we were all of us the same.
I studied merely maps. I tried to name
The effects of motion on the travellers,
I watched the couple I could see, the curse
And blessings of that couple, their destination,
The deception practised on them at the station,
Their courage. When the train stopped and they knew
The end of their journey, I descended too. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1717736

The serious poet should seek to explore the 'sources' of these global nightmares-and to explore them not just in poetry, but in person. Poetry is a terminal activity, taking place out near the end of things. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1792167

Nothin very bad happen to me lately.
How you explain that? --I explain that, Mr
Bones,
terms o' your bafflin odd sobriety.
Sober as man can get, no girls, no telephones,
what could happen bad to Mr Bones?
--If life is a handkerchief sandwich,

in a modesty of death I join my father
who dared so long agone leave me.
A bullet on a concrete stoop
close by a smothering southern sea
spreadeagled on an island, by my knee.
--You is from hunger, Mr Bones,

I offers you this handkerchief, now set
your left foot by my right foot,
shoulder to shoulder, all that jazz,
arm in arm, by the beautiful sea,
hum a little, Mr Bones.
--I saw nobody coming, so I went instead. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1808930

My psychiatrist can lick your psychiatrist. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1855542

Two daiquiris withdrew into a corner of a gorgeous room and one told the other a lie. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1914777

Them lady poets must not marry, pal ... It is a true error to marry with poets / or to be by them. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1941782

These Songs are not meant to be understood, you understand.
They are only meant to terrify & comfort. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1944735

The splendour & the lose grew all the same, Sire. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 1986887

General Fatigue stalked in, & a Major-General,
Captain Fatigue, and at the base of all
pale Corporal Fatigue,
and curious microbes came, came viruses:
and the Court conferred on Henry, and conferred on Henry
the rare Order of Weak. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2037387

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2084566

Them lady poets must not marry, pal. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2094425

When by me in the dusk my child sits down
I am myself. Simon, if it's that loose,
let me wiggle it out.
You'll get a bigger one there, & bite.
How they loft, how their sizes delight and grate.
The proportioned, spiritless poems accumulate.
And they publish them
away in brutish London, for a hollow crown. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2146511

What is the boy now, who has lost his ball, ... I am not a little boy. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2194137

We have reason to be afraid. This is a terrible place. — John Berryman

John Berryman Quotes 2243566

I am so wise I had my mouth sewn shut. — John Berryman