Berryman, University of Minnesota Regents’ professor of
humanities, author of “The Dream Saga,”
winner of the Pulitzer Prize,
Bollingen Award and National Book Award
wrote a poem in response to an editorial in the Minneapolis Tribune.
Public Hanging Favored
Many people have seen fit publicly to go to the aid of the eight chared with raids on draft offices.
The eight perhaps don't mean any harm, they only want recognition.
I'd like to see them get the recognition they deserve
during the Aquitannial—a public hanging of all eight.
David B. Dahlberg, St. Louis Park, MN.
The Minnesota 8 and the Letter-Writers
by John Berryman
Here’s one who wants them hanged. A poor sick mind,
signing itself & saying where it’s from:
St. Louis Park: Out of the woodwork vermin come.
To crises rise our worst, and (some) our best
to dare illegal deeds in an unpopular cause
defying prison because they feel they ought, because
the sanity & honour seem endangered,
or seem convulsed, of their own country, and
a flaccid people can’t be got to understand
its state without some violence undertaken,
by somebody without a thing to gain,
to shock it into resisting – one program pain
of treatment back to health of the body politic:
to stop napalming pint-sized yellow men
& their slant-eyed children, and ground arms & come home again
O the Signers broke the law, and deserved hanging,
by the weird light of the sage of St. Louis Park,
who probably admires them. These bear their rare mark.
Published in “Letters to the
Editor,” Minneapolis Tribune, Tuesday July 21, 1970.