Kenneth Patchen

The Artist's Duty

So it is the duty of the artist to discourage all traces of shame To extend all boundaries To fog them in right over the plate To kill only what is ridiculous To establish

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

In the footsteps of the walking air

In the footsteps of the walking air Sky’s prophetic chickens weave their cloth of awe And hillsides lift green wings in somber journeying. Night in his soft haste bumps on the shoulders of the

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


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

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

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

Saturday Night in the Parthenon

Tiny green birds skate over the surface of the room. A naked girl prepares a basin with steaming water, And in the corner away from the hearth, the red wheels Of an up-ended chariot

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 Oh my love, my golden lark, my


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.

The Hangman's Great Hands

And all that is this day. . . The boy with cap slung over what had been a face. .. Somehow the cop will sleep tonight, will make love to his Wife… Anger won’t

The Orange Bears

The Orange bears with soft friendly eyes Who played with me when I was ten, Christ, before I’d left home they’d had Their paws smashed in the rolls, their backs Seared by hot slag,

There Are Not Many Kingdoms Left

I write the lips of the moon upon her shoulders. In a Temple of silvery farawayness I guard her to rest. For her bed I write a stillness over all the swans of the

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

Irkalla's White Caves

I believe that a young woman Is standing in a circle of lions In the other side of the sky. In a little while I must carry her the flowers Which only fade here;
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