Sonnet 13

By John Berryman 1914–1972 John Berryman
I lift—lift you five States away your glass,
Wide of this bar you never graced, where none
Ever I know came, where what work is done
Even by these men I know not, where a brass
Police-car sign peers in, wet strange cars pass,
Soiled hangs the rag of day out over this town,
A juke-box brains air where I drink alone,
The spruce barkeep sports a toupee alas—

My glass I lift at six o'clock, my darling,
As you plotted . . Chinese couples shift in bed,
We shared today not even filthy weather,
Beasts in the hills their tigerish love are snarling,
Suddenly they clash, I blow my short ash red,
Grey eyes light! and we have our drink together.

John Berryman, "Sonnet 13" from Berryman’s Sonnets. Copyright © 1969 by John Berryman. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Source: Collected Poems, 1937-1971 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet John Berryman 1914–1972

SCHOOL / PERIOD Confessional

Subjects Love, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 John  Berryman

Biography

A scholar and professor as well as a poet, John Berryman is best-known for The Dream Songs, an intensely personal sequence of 385 poems which brought him the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. In these he invented a style and form able to accommodate a vast range of material while expressing his turbulent emotions.

Born John Smith in McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1914, Berryman suffered a great loss at 12 when his father shot . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Eating & Drinking

SCHOOL / PERIOD Confessional

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.