Kenneth Patchen

A Letter to the Liberals

It’s not enough
That doom shall find us whole of hate
And terror; valid ruin admires devotion
Growing out of wonder that it lived
At all. Can we admire and will the sport of clowns
Performing in their tents, enclosed
     from us
By shock of finding now that we
Have other things to do? For after all
The truth is out, the hour breaks, the bridges
Fall, the dams give way; our time’s
At hand. We know the voices, the clumsy faces:
“Almighty ghost, have us. Almighty God, save us.”

We bring no boxed solution; our flags
Stream out for use, not trumpet-masses.

I’m tired of all they say: “How do you say ‘worker’?
Make it ring?” Near the run-down factory
The hills still climb to cloud and silence,
Birds singing, their notes no whorish alphabet
Or key to foreign trade; the horizon,
Indolent and shifting as men or tides,
Has scars and wonderment unchanged by general strikes.

Submit no more. They said the wind would polish names
And thunder clear the quiet streets: I saw them smile
I knew they lied.
Spies aware of danger grasp for guns
Not straws: be noble and be true
Your whiter cloaks provide a better sight on you.