September 16, 2019

Poem: At the New Year (Kenneth Patchin)

Frosty Morning (2018)

At the New Year
by Kenneth Patchen

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.

• • •

Kenneth Patchen, “At the New Year” from Collected Poems.
© 1939 by Kenneth Patchen.

Comments

  1. Pellicano Solitudinis says

    Happy New Year to all at iMonk.

  2. Wow. Powerful. Love it.

  3. senecagriggs says

    My New Year’s Eve goal? Wake up NewYear’s Day.

    • senecagriggs says

      I did; played golf from 7:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The new year is off to a good start.

      [ My game was less than stellar however. Actually “stellar” has never been used in conjunction with my golf game. Near year, same old golf game. sigh ]

  4. “FOREVER THIS SORROWFUL HUMAN FACE IN ETERNITY’S WINDOW” (Kenneth Patchen)

    “He (Brand) remembered a lecture he heard given by anthropologist Margaret Mead,
    who spent much of her life researching prehistoric peoples.
    She asked her audience,

    “WHAT IS THE EARLIEST SIGN OF CIVILIZATION? ”

    A clay pot? Iron? Tools? Agriculture?”
    No, she claimed,

    “IT WAS A HEALED LEG BONE. ”

    Brand recalls:
    She Margaret Mead) explained that such healings were never found in the
    remains of competitive, savage societies. There, clues of violence abounded: temples pierced by arrows, skulls crushed by clubs.]

    BUT THE HEALED FEMUR SHOWED THAT SOMEONE MUST HAVE CARED FOR THE INJURED PERSON –hunted on his behalf, brought
    him food, and served him at personal sacrifice.
    Savage societies could not afford such pity.”

    The apostle Paul wrote, “The only thing that
    counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6). Words
    and ideas, forms and structures can take us only so far. In the end,
    it’s a matter of whether we will lay down our lives for one another.
    For Christ’s followers, this is not just a matter of obedience but the
    distinguishing mark of our witness.

    Jesus says, “A new command I
    give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love
    one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
    if you love one another” (John 13:34–35). ”

    http://www.cficommunity.org/images/literature/calledtocommunity.pdf

  5. Have I changed this year?
    Am I the same sorry self?
    Only time will tell.