Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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
In this deep throw of stars, in those trenches
          where the dead are, Father
In all the wide land waiting, and in the liners
          out on the black water
In all that has been said bravely, in all that is
          mean anywhere in the world, Father
In all that is good and lovely, in every house
          where sham and hatred are
In the name of those who wait, in the sound
          of angry voices, Father
Before the bells ring, before this little point in time
          has rushed us on
Before this clean moment has gone, before this night
          turns to face tomorrow, Father
There is this high singing in the air
Forever this sorrowful human face in eternity’s window
And there are other bells that we would ring, Father
Other bells that we would ring.

"At the New Year" by Kenneth Patchen. Text as published in Collected Poems (fifth edition, New Directions Publishing, 1968).

Art credit: Photograph taken on December 13, 2012 by Poupetta aka Ann. Caption: "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.—Leonard Cohen."

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