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
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.
10 thoughts on “Poem: At the New Year (Kenneth Patchin)”
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 ]
Have I changed this year?
Am I the same sorry self?
Only time will tell.
Yes. Sounds like an interesting thinker.
“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. ”
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). ”
Click to access calledtocommunity.pdf
And also to you, Susan.
very moving, thought-provoking poem indeed . . . I want to know more about its author
My New Year’s Eve goal? Wake up NewYear’s Day.
Sydney Harbour fireworks were amazing.
IMonkers see if you can access them.
Happy New Year to all.
Wow. Powerful. Love it.
Happy New Year to all at iMonk.