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Explore the Craft of Writing American Verse The Dream Song at first glance could probably be considered a style or genre of poetry because of the prominent "dream theme". But with more careful examination, the Dream Song is a framed verse form with a specific stanzaic prescription. It was created by American poet, John Berryman's (1914-1972) book of 77 Dream Songs . He continued to write Dream Songs after the book was published and there are over 400 of his Dream Songs in circulation. The poems seem to me to be recordings of Berryman's dreams in verse. They are often disjointed and bizarre although the frame of the poems remains consistent. There is a reoccurring character Henry who as a black faced minstrel is called Mr. Bones. The poems include "wrenched syntax, scrambled diction, extraordinary leaps of language and tone, and wild mixture of high lyricism and low comedy" . Poem Hunter.com. The elements of the Dream Song are: a verse form, the poem is written in 3 sixains, 18 lines. metric, Accentual, usually L1,L2,L4,& L5 5 stresses and L3 & L6 have 2 or 3 stresses. As long as 4 lines are longer and L3 & L6 are shorter, the rhythm is jerky much like the content. rhymed, rhyme patterns vary from stanza to stanza however there are normally 3 rhymes per stanza. a b c a b c a b c c b a, aabccb, abbacc are a few of the patterns. abcbac is the pattern of the stanza below. Dream Song #112 by John Berryman My framework is broken, I am coming to an end, God send it soon. When I had most to say my tongue clung to the roof I mean of my mouth. It is my Lady's birthday which must be honored, and has been. God send it soon. I now must speak to my disciples, west and east. I say to you, Do not delay I say, expectation is vain. I say again, It is my Lady's birthday which must be honored. Bring her to the test at once. I say again, It is my Lady's birthday which must be honored, for her high black hair but not for that alone: for every word she utters everywhere shows her good soul, as true as a healed bone, being part of what I meant to say.
Explore the Craft of Writing American Verse Mistress Bradstreet Stanza is a stanzaic verse attributed to American poet John Berryman (1914-1972) patterned after the frame of his 57 stanza poem Homage to Mistress Bradstreet which he said was developed after a life time of studying Yeats. The defining features of the Mistress Bradstreet Stanza are: stanzaic, written in any number of octaves. accentual verse, composed with 5-5-3-4-5-5-3-6 stresses per line. rhymed, rhyme scheme abcbddba, the a and d rhymes are a constant although occasionally the rhyme changes to abcbddca. Homage to Mistress Bradstreet by John Berryman (1st 3 stanzas) The Governor your husband lived so long moved you not, restless, waiting for him? Still, you were a patient woman. I seem to see you pause here still: Sylvester, Quarles, in moments odd you pored before a fire at, bright eyes on the Lord, all the children still. 'Simon ...' Simon will listen while you read a Song. Outside the New World winters in grand dark white air lashing high thro' the virgin stands foxes down foxholes sigh, surely the English heart quails, stunned. I doubt if Simon than this blast, that sea, spares from his rigor for your poetry more. We are on each other's hands who care. Both of our worlds unhanded us. Lie stark, thy eyes look to me mild. Out of maize & air your body's made, and moves. I summon, see, from the centuries it. I think you won't stay. How do we linger, diminished, in our lovers' air, implausibly visible, to whom, a year, years, over interims; or not; to a long stranger; or not; shimmer & disappear.