We must be slow and delicate; return
the policeman's stare with some esteem,
remember this is not a shadow play
of doves and geese but this is now
the time to write it down, record the words—
I mean we should have left some pride
of youth and not forget the destiny of men
who say goodbye to the wives and homes
they've read about at breakfast in a restaurant:
"My love."—without regret or bitterness
obtain the measure of the stride we make,
the latest song has chosen a theme of love
delivering us from all evil—destroy. . . ?
why no. . . this too is fanciful. . . funny how
hard it is to be slow and delicate in this,
this thing of framing words to mark this grave
I mean nothing short of blood in every street
on earth can fitly voice the loss of these.
Kenneth Patchen, “My Generation Reading the Newspapers” from Collected Poems. Copyright 1936 by Kenneth Patchen. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: Selected Poems
(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1957)
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