Variation

By Bill Berkson b. 1939 Bill Berkson
Half-ended melodies are purer.
To no longer perform in broad daylight,
the apple’s a radish for it,
the winter chill a living thing.
But take your brother into later learning:
Let the girls who will smell the buried cloves there.
 
So I am only beginning to learn what I from time to time forget.
But throw away these childish things!
 
Barney’s coffin disappeared,
and luckily you said the right thing
for the sky mentioned for the last time.
The little master of small talk
is really the seducer of your every move,
taking you into his confidence the way a cat his mouse.
 
And still young Lycidas cannot express himself fully.
And: “Everyone is the same,”
even down to his jockey shorts, dolce far niente, as they say.
 


Bill Berkson, "Variation" from Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2009 by Bill Berkson.  Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press.

Source: Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2009)

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Poet Bill Berkson b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Youth, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Allusion

 Bill  Berkson

Biography

Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic, teacher and sometime curator, who has been active in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. He is professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where, between 1984 and 2008, he taught art history, art writing and poetry; Berkson also served as interim dean in 1992 and directed the Letters and Science and public lectures programs. He studied at . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Youth, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Allusion

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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