Kenneth Patchen

K
Kenneth Patchen
At the New Year
In the shape of this night, in the still fall
of snow, Father
In all that is cold and tiny, these little birds
and children
In everything that moves tonight, the trolleys
and the lovers, Father
In the great hush of country, in the ugly noise
of our cities
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'Be Music, Night'
Be music, night,
That her sleep may go
Where angels have their pale tall choirs

Be a hand, sea,
That her dreams may watch
Thy guidesman touching the green flesh of the world

Be a voice, sky,
That her beauties may be counted
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The Cloth of the Tempest
These of living emanate a formidable light,
Which is equal to death, and when used
Gives increase eternally.
What fortifies in separate thought
Is not drawn by wind or by man defiled.
So whispers the parable of doubleness.
As it is necessary not to submit
To power which weakens the hidden forms;
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Eve of St. Agony or The Middleclass Was Sitting on Its Fat
Man-dirt and stomachs that the sea unloads; rockets
of quick lice crawling inland, planting their damn flags,
putting their malethings in any hole that will stand still,
yapping bloody murder while they slice off each other’s heads,
spewing themselves around, priesting, whoring, lording
it over little guys, messing their pants, writing gush-notes
to their grandmas, wanting somebody to do something pronto,
wanting the good thing right now and the bad stuff for the other boy.
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In Order To
Apply for the position (I've forgotten now for what) I had
to marry the Second Mayor's daughter by twelve noon. The
order arrived three minutes of.

I already had a wife; the Second Mayor was childless: but I
did it.

Next they told me to shave off my father's beard. All right.
No matter that he'd been a eunuch, and had succumbed in
early childhood: I did it, I shaved him.
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The Murder of Two Men by a Young Kid Wearing Lemon-colored Gloves
Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait. Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

W a i t.

Wait.
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My Generation Reading the Newspapers
We must be slow and delicate; return
the policeman's stare with some esteem,
remember this is not a shadow play
of doves and geese but this is now
the time to write it down, record the words—
I mean we should have left some pride
of youth and not forget the destiny of men
who say goodbye to the wives and homes
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The Rites of Darkness
The sleds of the children
Move down the right slope.
To the left, hazed in the tumbling air,
A thousand lights smudge
Within the branches of the old forest,
Like colored moons in a well of milk.

The sleds of the children
Make no sound on the hard-packed snow.
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The Snow Is Deep on the Ground
The snow is deep on the ground.
Always the light falls
Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.

This is a good world.
The war has failed.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the snow waits where love is.

Only a few go mad.
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