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PATCHEN, Kenneth

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.

The Lions Of Fire

The lions of fire

Shall have their hunting in this black land

Their teeth shall tear at your soft throats

Their claws kill

O the lions of fire shall awake

And the valleys steam with their fury

Because you are sick with the dirt of your money

Because you are pigs rooting in the swill of your war

Because you are mean and sly and full of the pus of your pious murder

Because you have turned your faces from God

Because you have spread your filth everywhere

O the lions of fire

Wait in the crawling shadows of your world

And their terrible eyes are watching you.

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.

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.

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

And the stars will tilt their quiet faces

Into the mirror of her loveliness

Be a road, earth,

That her walking may take thee

Where the towns of heaven lift their breathing spires

O be a world and a throne, God,

That her living may find its weather

And the souls of ancient bells in a child's book

Shall lead her into Thy wondrous house

The Character of love seen as a search for the lost

You, the woman; I, the man; this, the world:

And each is the work of all.

There is the muffled step in the snow; the stranger;

The crippled wren; the nun; the dancer; the Jesus-wing

Over the walkers in the village; and there are

Many beautiful arms around us and the things we know.

See how those stars tramp over the heavens on their sticks

Of ancient light: with what simplicity that blue

Takes eternity into the quiet cave of God, where Ceasar

And Socrates, like primitive paintings on a wall,

Look, with idiot eyes, on the world where we two are.

You, the sought for; I, the seeker; this, the search:

And each is the mission of all.

For greatness is only the drayhorse that coaxes

The built cart out; and where we go is reason.

But genius is an enormous littleness, a trickling

Of heart that covers alike the hare and the hunter.

How smoothly, like the sleep of a flower, love,

The grassy wind moves over night's tense meadow:

See how the great wooden eyes of the forrest

Stare upon the architecture of our innocence.

You, the village; I, the stranger; this, the road:

And each is the work of all.

Then, not that man do more, or stop pity; but that he be

Wider in living; that all his cities fly a clean flag...

We have been alone too long, love; it is terribly late

For the pierced feet on the water and we must not die now.

Have you ever wondered why all the windows in heaven were broken?

Have you seen the homeless in the open grave of God's hand?

Do you want to aquaint the larks with the fatuous music of war?

There is the muffled step in the snow; the stranger;

The crippled wren; the nun; the dancer; the Jesus-wing

Over the walkers in the village; and there are

Many desperate arms about us and the things we know.