Sunday Poem

Not Many Kingdoms Left

I write the lips of the moon upon her shoulders. In a temple
of silvery farawayness I guard her to rest.

For her bed I write a stillness over all the swans of the
world. With the morning breath of the snow leopard I cover
her against any hurt.

Using the pen of rivers and mountaintops I store her pillow
with singing.

Upon her hair I write the looking of the heavens at early

—Away from this kingdom, from this last undefiled place, I
write civilizations, governments, and all other spirit-forsaken
and soldiery institutions. O cold beautiful blossoms, the lips
of the moon moving upon her shoulders . . . Stand off! Stand

by Kenneth Patchen
from Kenneth Patchen Selected Poems
New Directions Books, 1957