Delmore Schwartz

(8 December 1913 - 11 July 1966 / Brooklyn / New York / United States)

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The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me


'the withness of the body' --Whitehead

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.

Breathing at my side, that heavy animal,
That heavy bear who sleeps with me,
Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar,
A sweetness intimate as the water's clasp,
Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope
Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
--The strutting show-off is terrified,
Dressed in his dress-suit, bulging his pants,
Trembles to think that his quivering meat
Must finally wince to nothing at all.

That inescapable animal walks with me,
Has followed me since the black womb held,
Moves where I move, distorting my gesture,
A caricature, a swollen shadow,
A stupid clown of the spirit's motive,
Perplexes and affronts with his own darkness,
The secret life of belly and bone,
Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown,
Stretches to embrace the very dear
With whom I would walk without him near,
Touches her grossly, although a word
Would bare my heart and make me clear,
Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed
Dragging me with him in his mouthing care,
Amid the hundred million of his kind,
the scrimmage of appetite everywhere.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Thursday, December 08, 2011

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Read poems about / on: animal, football, candy, crazy, sleep, anger, brother, city, hate, water, world, howl

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Comments about this poem (The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me by Delmore Schwartz )

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  • Rookie Biron Marlene (1/7/2014 7:34:00 AM)

    I liked my reading very good text, a form of writing which I did not know cheer and thank you for this division my friendships (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Richard Ribeyre (2/15/2010 5:43:00 AM)

    Shame, that there are no comments here, to celebrate this poem that i instantly knew and have ever since, thirty three years, since I was a college freshman, although not so fresh even then. (Report) Reply

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