Kenneth Patchen

(13 December 1911 - 8 January 1972 / Ohio)

The Temple


To leave the earth was my wish, and no will stayed my rising.
Early, before sun had filled the roads with carts
Conveying folk to weddings and to murders;
Before men left their selves of sleep, to wander
In the dark of the world like whipped beasts.

I took no pack. I had no horse, no staff, no gun.
I got up a little way and something called me,
Saying,
'Put your hand in mine. We will seek God together.'
And I answered, 'It is your father who is lost, not mine.'
Then the sky filled with tears of blood, and snakes sang.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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