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Tinker

Dream Song

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Tinker

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:

  1. a verse form, the poem is written in 3 sixains, 18 lines.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Tinker

 Trail of Dreams

My dream song begins as shadows in the dark.
Far off through a misty cloud of restless sleep,
a distant spark
subdued and soft in the fog of midnight deep.
And so I creep into the clouds of my mind
to seek, to find.   

Black, grey and white give way to light
at first merging into blues in flight
then spreading wide
with rainbow colors for my golden guide.
There is a river and emerald hills before me,
beckoning, "be free".    

It's now up to me to choose the dreamscape path
into the forest, city streets, the sea, or just fly.
Explore or play,
I'll solve a mystery or splash in a birdbath,
the possibilities are as endless as the sky
Wake or stay?  
                           ~~Judi Van Gorder


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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