Kenneth Patchen

(13 December 1911 - 8 January 1972 / Ohio)

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 abyss
And a single drop of dark blood covers the earth.

Now is the China of the spirit at walking
In my reaches.
A sable organ sounds in my gathered will
And love's inscrutable skeleton sings.

My seeing moves under a vegetable shroud
And dead forests stand where once Mary stood.

Sullen stone dogs wait in the groves of water ...
Though the wanderer drown, his welfare is as a fire
That burns at the bottom of the sea, warming
Unknown roads for sleep to walk upon.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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