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Kenneth Patchen

The best hope is that one of these days the ground will get disgusted enough just to walk away - leaving people with nothing more to stand on than what they have so bloody well stood for up to now.

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We Go Out Together In the Staring Town

We go out together into the staring town
And buy cheese and bread and little jugs with
flowered labels

Everywhere is a tent where we put on our whirling
show

A great deal has been said of the handless serpents
Which war has set loose in the gay milk of our
heads

But because you braid your hair and taste like
honey of heaven
We go together into town to buy wine and
yellow candles.

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The Naked Land

A beast stands at my eye.

I cook my senses in a dark fire.
The old wombs rot and the new mother
Approaches with the footsteps of a world.

Who are the people of this unscaled heaven?
What beckons?
Whose blood hallows this grim land?
What slithers along the watershed of my human sleep?

The other side of knowing ...
Caress of unwaking delight ... O start
A sufficient love! O gently silent forms
Of the last spaces.

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Pastoral

The Dove walks with sticky feet
Upon the green crowns of the almond tree,
Its feathers smeared over with warmth
Like honey
That dips lazily down into the shadow ...

Anyone standing in that orchard.So filled with peace and sleep,
Would hardly have noticed the hill
Nearby
With its three strange wooden arms
Lifted above a throng of motionless people
- Above the helmets of Pilate's soldiers
Flashing like silver teeth in the sun.

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Let Us Have Madness

Let us have madness openly.
O men Of my generation.
Let us follow
The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
See it trail across Time's dim land
Into the closed house of eternity
With the noise that dying has,
With the face that dead things wear--
nor ever say
We wanted more; we looked to find
An open door, an utter deed of love,
Transforming day's evil darkness;
but We found extended hell and fog Upon the earth,
and within the head
A rotting bog of lean huge graves.

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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.
The sky moves in its whiteness
Like the withered hand of an old king.
God shall not forget us.
Who made the sky knows of our love.


The snow is beautiful on the ground.
And always the lights of heaven glow

[...] Read more

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The Slums

That should be obvious
Of course it won't
Any fool knows that.
Even in the winter.
Consider for a moment.
What?
Consider what!
They never have.
Why now?
Certainly it means nothing.
It's all a lie.
What else could it be?
That's right.
Sure.
Any way you look at it.
A silk hat.
A fat belly.
A nice church to squat in.
My holy ass...
What should they care about?

[...] Read more

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Creation

Wherever the dead are there they are and
Nothing more. But you and I can expect
To see angels in the meadowgrass that look
Like cows -
And wherever we are in paradise
in furnished room without bath and
six flights up
Is all God! We read
To one another, loving the sound of the s’s
Slipping up on the f’s and much is good
Enough to raise the hair on our heads, like Rilke and Wilfred Owen

Any person who loves another person,
Wherever in the world, is with us in this room -
Even though there are battlefields.

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As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each Other

As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies

O my lady, my fairest dear, my sweetest, loveliest one
Your lips have splashed my dull house with the speech of flowers
My hands are hallowed where they touched over your
soft curving.

It is good to be weary from that brilliant work
It is being God to feel your breathing under me

A waterglass on the bureau fills with morning . . .
Don’t let anyone in to wake us.

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Fall of the Evening Star

Speak softly; sun going down
Out of sight. Come near me now.

Dear dying fall of wings as birds
complain against the gathering dark...

Exaggerate the green blood in grass;
the music of leaves scraping space;

Multiply the stillness by one sound;
by one syllable of your name...

And all that is little is soon giant,
all that is rare grows in common beauty

To rest with my mouth on your mouth
as somewhere a star falls

And the earth takes it softly, in natural love...
Exactly as we take each other...

[...] Read more

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