Let Us Have Madness

Let us have madness openly.
O men Of my generation.
Let us follow
The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
See it trail across Time's dim land
Into the closed house of eternity
With the noise that dying has,
With the face that dead things wear--
nor ever say
We wanted more; we looked to find
An open door, an utter deed of love,
Transforming day's evil darkness;
but We found extended hell and fog Upon the earth,
and within the head
A rotting bog of lean huge graves.

by Kenneth Patchen

Comments (11)

Ronald Reagan was born the same year as Kenneth Patchen, and was a great influence on the Governor and then President. Let us have madness openly, O men of my generation! Reagan closed all the mental institutions, and allowed the former inmates to roam the streets as homeless people in the 1980's; and the trend continues today. It is indeed marvelous when poets are listened to by politicians! Unfortunately different communities have treated the madmen out in the open differently, and many have incarcerated them and placed them in prison cells. So, we need a new Patchen shouting in the streets!
The poor state of affairs in the society that created in the poem a good idea.
Since our societies are greedy and justify ambition, since our governments see war as a simple solution to complex problems, since our morality accept human sacrifice to our secular gods in the form of massive battlefield losses, we are living in a comprehensive madness. So why continue to extol our civilization as one of reason and our behavior as rational? Let us have madness and stop deceiving ourselves. Three images conclude the poem: Hell is the suffering we have unleashed on everyone, Fog is our intellectual and moral confusion, and Graves symbolize our collective Death Wish. Poetry, in its highest manifestation, is truth-telling. Will this truth free us?
too many listened, too many made madness openly, time to stop the rot, the wars, the slaughter; time to make time for peace and love to sow restoration and regeneration
Quite good poem but I wouldn't like to be in that world!
See More