The Orange Bears

Kenneth Patchen

 
The Orange bears with soft friendly eyes
Who played with me when I was ten,
Christ, before I'd left home they'd had
Their paws smashed in the rolls, their backs
Seared by hot slag, their soft trusting
Bellies kicked in, their tongues ripped
Out, and I went down through the woods
To the smelly crick with Whitman
In the Haldeman-Julius edition,
And I just sat there worrying my thumbnail
Into the cover---What did he know about
Orange bears with their coats all stunk up with soft coal
And the National Guard coming over
From Wheeling to stand in front of the millgates
With drawn bayonets jeering at the strikers?
I remember you would put daisies
On the windowsill at night and in
The morning they'd be so covered with soot
You couldn't tell what they were anymore.
A hell of a fat chance my orange bears had!
 
From The Collected Poems of Kenneth Patchen, published by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1957 Kenneth Patchen. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Poems by This Author

WHERE? by Kenneth Patchen
There's a place the man always say


Further Reading

Poems About Work and Money
A Situation for Mrs. Biswas
by Prageeta Sharma
Blues
by Elizabeth Alexander
Coming Close
by Philip Levine
Engines Within the Throne
by Cathy Park Hong
Hay for the Horses
by Gary Snyder
I am the People, the Mob
by Carl Sandburg
i am witness to the threshing of the grain
by John Hoffman
Odd Jobs
by Jericho Brown
On Quitting
by Edgar Guest
One of the Monkeys
by Nicholas Johnson
Personals
by C. D. Wright
Po' Boy Blues
by Langston Hughes
Proximity
by Randall Mann
Song of Myself
by John Canaday
Song of the Shirt
by Thomas Hood
Testament
by Carl Sandburg
The Dance
by Humberto Ak'Abal
The Debt
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Eternal City
by Jim Simmerman
The Telephonist
by Susan Yuzna
The Unknown Citizen
by W. H. Auden
The Whistle
by Yusef Komunyakaa
The World Is Too Much With Us
by William Wordsworth
Thinking of Work
by James Shea
Vocation
by Sandra Beasley