The Sonnets: III

By Ted Berrigan 1934–1983 Ted Berrigan
Stronger than alcohol, more great than song,
deep in whose reeds great elephants decay,
I, an island, sail, and my shoes toss
on a fragrant evening, fraught with sadness
bristling hate.
It’s true, I weep too much. Dawns break
slow kisses on the eyelids of the sea,
what other men sometimes have thought they’ve seen.
And since then I’ve been bathing in the poem
lifting her shadowy flowers up for me,
and hurled by hurricanes to a birdless place
the waving flags, nor pass by prison ships
O let me burst, and I be lost at sea!
and fall on my knees then, womanly.

Ted Berrigan, “Sonnet III” from The Sonnets. Copyright © 2000 by Alice Notley, Literary Executrix of the Estate of Ted Berrigan. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

Source: The Sonnets (Penguin Books, 2000)

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Poet Ted Berrigan 1934–1983

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Biography

Ted Berrigan—Edmund Joseph Michael Berrigan Jr.—was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest of three children of Margaret Dugan and Edmund Berrigan, the chief engineer at Ward’s Baking Company. On both sides the family was Irish Catholic. Berrigan attended local schools and entered Providence College, a local Catholic school, but left after a year and enlisted in the army.

Berrigan was sent to Korea in 1954 but never saw . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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