John Berryman (1914–1972)
11 Addresses to the Lord (3)
Sole watchman of the flying stars, guard me
against my flicker of impulse lust: teach me
to see them as sisters & daughters. Sustain
my grand endeavours: husbandship & crafting.
Forsake me not when my wild hours come;
grant me sleep nightly, grace soften my dreams;
achieve in me patience til the thing be done,
a careful view of my achievement come.
Make me from time to time the gift of the shoulder.
When all hurt nerves whine shut away the whiskey.
Empty my heart toward Thee.
Let me pace without fear the common path of death.
Cross am I sometimes with my little daughter:
fill her eyes with tears. Forgive me, Lord.
Unite my various soul,
sole watchman of the wide & single stars.
From John Berryman; Collected Poems 1937–1971, edited and introduced by Charles Thornbury (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux).