John Berryman (1914–1972)
11 Addresses to the Lord (6)
Under new management, Your Majesty:
Thine. I have solo'd mine since childhood, since
my father's blow-it-all when I was twelve
blew out my most bright candle faith, and look at me.
I served at Mass six dawns a week from five,
adoring Father Boniface & you,
memorizing the Latin he explained.
Mostly we worked alone. One or two women.
Then my poor father frantic. Confusions & afflictions
followed my days. Wives left me.
Bankrupt I closed my doors. You pierced the roof
twice & again. Finally you opened my eyes.
My double nature fused in that point of time
three weeks ago day before yesterday.
Now, brooding thro' a history of the early Church,
I identify with everybody, even the heresiarchs.
From John Berryman; Collected Poems 1937–1971, edited and introduced by Charles Thornbury (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux).