The Sonnets: XLI

By Ted Berrigan 1934–1983 Ted Berrigan
banging around in a cigarette      she isn’t “in love”
my dream a drink with Ira Hayes we discuss the code of the west
my hands make love to my body when my arms are around you
you never tell me your name
and I am forced to write “belly” when I mean “love”
Au revoir, scene!
I waken, read, write long letters and
wander restlessly when leaves are blowing
my dream a crumpled horn
in advance of the broken arm
she murmurs of signs to her fingers
weeps in the morning to waken so shackled with love
Not me. I like to beat people up.
My dream a white tree

Ted Berrigan, “Sonnet  XLI” 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 Body, The Mind, Love, Desire, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Sonnet


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 Body, The Mind, Love, Desire, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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