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Dream Song #14

January 30, 2012

It is a Monday at the frozen end of January, and I woke up before dawn with this poem by John Berryman in my head, from the Dream Songs:
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

I have no inner resources left at this time of year.  I’m tired of all the meals I cook, and all my winter clothes. I’m tired of being cold all the time. I’m tired of the world looking black and white and having no smell.  I’m tired of the kinds of jokes I usually make, as I’m sure you are, too.

I’m not entirely tired of the attitude in this poem. My favorite line is the one with “especially great literature.” Since “Henry” is the poet’s own favorite creation–his literary alter ego–being tired of him is like being tired of himself.  I’m tired of myself too, John Berryman.  What will save us from this enervating boredom?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    January 30, 2012 9:46 am

    Yes, so tired. I did discover one not-so-bad thing about winter yesterday when neither child put the lid back on the honey. In winter, no bugs will fly into the honey jar and get stuck.

    • January 30, 2012 6:29 pm

      Good point. That’s one of the good things about living in the north–the houses don’t have bugs. Of course, they do have mice. But we have cats.

  2. January 30, 2012 11:39 am

    A week from now, the Super Bowl will have left and it will be possible to get around Indianapolis again. This I anticipate with enthusiasm.

    • January 30, 2012 6:29 pm

      What a truly pitiful thing to have to look forward to!

  3. January 30, 2012 1:12 pm

    I was listening to this song earlier today and it is kind of the flip side of Berryman’s poem:

    • January 30, 2012 6:27 pm

      Ron is going to be absolutely cackling with glee when he sees that you got me to listen to Jethro Tull.

  4. January 30, 2012 1:26 pm

    Oh, I know this feeling.

    Luckily I am reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I am not bored. In fact, I want to go hide in the bathroom and read some more. I suppose that would be unethical.

    • January 30, 2012 6:30 pm

      I’d say that depends on whether reading rejuvenates you for the rest of the things you have to tackle during the day.

  5. January 30, 2012 9:22 pm

    I’m going to have to start using the “inner resources” line on my son whenever he complains that he is bored. I hope you get out of your doldrums soon!

    • January 30, 2012 10:27 pm

      Notice the word “repeatingly”? This is another way you’ll be accused of “recycling words”!

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