THE COLLECTED POEMS

OF
HART CRANE
EDITED WITH
AN INTRODUCTION BY
WALDO FRANK
LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION
NEW YORK
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF
HART CRANE
*
COPYRIGHT, 1933, LIVERIGHT INC.
LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION
*
ConrigM in All Countries
*
BLACK & GOLD EDITION
JULY, 1946
*
M anujlJctu1"eJ
m the United States of Ameri&1I
EDITOR'S NOTE
AT the time of his death, Hart Crane had pre-
pared for publication a volume to be called Key
West: An Island Sheaf. This collection, with the
poems as arranged by Crane, figures as Part Three
of this volume. The Uncollected Poems were
found in manuscript among the poet's papers, and
were written for the most part in the last three or
four years of his life. Some of them had no title.
Many of them, it is clear, are incomplete and were
so considered by the poet.
There exist a number of l1ariora of certain pas-
sages of The Bridge, apart from the variations in
the Paris edition which appeared a few months
before the first New York issue; but the Editor has
not judged that the publication of vanora would
be advisable in this first collected edition. The text
of The Bridge adhered to, is the final one chosen
by the poet and published by Liveright, Inc.
The Editor is indebted principally to Mrs.
Grace Hart Crane, the poet's mother, and to Mr.
Samuel Loveman, for assistance in the preparation
of this volume. His thanks are due also to Mr.
Malcolm Cowley, Mr. Pat McGrath and Mr. Joseph
Kling, former editor of The Pagan.
~ N INTRODUCTION
a
I dwell in Possibility
A ja:Lrer house than PrO!6.
More numerous of windows,
Superior oj doors.
EMILY DICKINSON
AG R A R I A N America had a common culture, which
was both the fruit and the carrier of what I have called
elsewhere' "the great tradition,." 1 This tradition rose in
the Mediterranean world with the will of Egypt, Israel
and Greece, to recreate the individual and the group in
the image of values called divine. The same will established
Catholic Europe, and when it failed (producing nonethe·
less what came to he the national European cultures), the
great tradition survived. It survived in the Europe of
Renaissance, Reformation, Revolution. With the Puritans,
it was formally transplanted to the North American sea-
hoard. Roger Williams, Thomas Hooker, Jonathan Ed·
wards; later, in a more narrow sense, Jefferson, Madison,
Adams, carried on the great tradition, with the same tools,
on the same intellectual and economic terms, that had heen
hrought from Europe and that had failed in Europe. It
was transplanted, it was not transfigured. But before the
final defeat of its Puritan avatar-a defeat ensured by
2. The Re-discovery of America.
vii
AN INTRODUCTION
the disappearance of our agrarian economy, the great tra-
dition had borne fruit in two general forms. The first was
the ideological art of what Lewis Mumford calls the Golden
Day: a prophetic art of poets so diverse as Emerson,
Thoreau, Poe, whose vision was one of Possibility and
whose doom, since its premise was a disappearing world,
was to remain suspended in the thin air of aspiration. The
second was within the lives of the common people. Ac-
ceptance of the ideal of the great tradition had its eft' ect
upon their character; and this humbler achievement is
,recorded, perhaps finally, in the poems of Robert Frost.
Frost's art, unlike Whitman's or Melville's, is one of Proba.
bility. It gives us not a vision, but persons. They are frus-
trate, poor, often mad. They face grimly their resurgent
hills, knowing the failure of their lives to enact the beauty
of their great tradition. Yet their dwelling within it for
many generations, their acceptance of its will for their
own, has given them even in defeat a :6hre of strength, a
smoldering spark of victory; and it is this in the verse of
Frost that makes it poetry of a high order. ,
Frost's record (North of Boston, 1914; Mountai11;
Interval, 1916) was already made when the United States
entered the War; and the War brought final ruin to the
American culture of "free" individuals living for the most
part on farms, whose beauty Frost recorded. The tradition
which had tempered the persons in Frost's poems had
already, before the Civil War, sung its last high Word in
the old terms that 'Were valid from Plato to Fichte. And
viii
AN INTRODUCTION
this too was fitting, for the Civil War prepared the doom
which the World War completed, of our agrarian class-
culture. But the great tradition, unbroken from Hermes
Trismegistus and Moses, does not die. In a society trans-
figured by new scientific and economic forces, it too must
be transfigured. The literature and philosophy of the past
hundred years reveal many efforts at this transfiguration:
in this common purpose, Marx and Nietzsche are brothers.
The poetry of Whitman was still founded on the substances
of the old order. The poetry of Hart Crane is a de-
liberate continuance of the great tradition in terms of our
industrialised world.
If we bear in mind this purpose of Crane's work, we
shall be better prepared to understand his methods, his
content, his obscurity. We shall, of course, not seek the
clear forms of a poet of Probability, like Frost. But we
shall, also, not too widely trust Crane's kinship with the
poets of the Emersonian era, whose tradition he immedi-
ately continues. They were all, like Crane, bards of Possi ..
bility rather than scribes of realisation. Yet they relied
upon inherited forms .•• forms emotional, ethical, social,
intellectual and religious, transplanted from Europe and
not too deliquescent for their uses. Whitman's apocalypse'
rested on the politics of Jefferson and on the economics of
the physiocrats of France. Emerson was content with the
ideology of Plato and Buddha, his own class world not too
radically differing from theirs. Even Emily Dickinson
based her explosive doubts upon the permanent premise of
AN INTRODUCTION
a sheltered private garden, to which such as she could
always meditatively retire. These conventional assumptions
gave to these poets an accessible and communicable form;
for we too have been nurtured on the words of that old
order. But in Crane, none of the ideal landmarks, none
of the formal securities, survive; therefore his language
problem-the poet's need to :find words at once to create
and to communicate his vision-is acute. Crane, who began
to write while Frost was perfecting his story, lived, in-
stinctively at first, then with poignant awareness, in a world
whose cant outlines of person, class, creed, value--still
clear, however weak, in Emerson's Boston, Whitman's New
York, Poe's Richmond-had dissolved. His vision was the
timeless One of all the seers, and it binds him to the
great tradition; but because of the time that Heshed him
and that he. needed, to substance his vision, he could not
employ traditional concretions. He began, naked and brave,
iri a cultural chaos; and his attempt, with sound materials,
to achieve poetic form, was ever close to chaos. What is
clear in Crane, besides the intensity and the traditionalism
of his creative will, is the impact of inchoate forces through
which he rose to utterance. Cities, machines, the warring
hungers of lonely and herded men, the passions released
from defeated loyalties, were ever near to overwhelm the
poet. To master them, he must form his Word unaided. In
his lack of valid terms to express his relationship with life,
Crane was a true culture-child; more completely than either
Emily Dickinson or Blake, he was a child of modern man.
AN INTRODUCTION
b
HAROLD HART CRANE was hom in Garrettsville, Ohio, July
21, 1899. His parents, Clarence Arthur Crane and Grace
Hart, were of the pioneer stock that trekked in covered
wagons from New England to the Western Reserve. But
his grandparents, on hoth sides, had already shifted from
the farm to small town business; and Clarence A. Crane
hecame a wealthy candy manufacturer in Cleveland. Here,
the poet, an only child, lived from his tenth year. At thir·
teen, he was composing verse; at sixteen, in the words of
Gorham Munson,
1
"he was writing on a level that Amy
Lowell never rose from." In the winter of 1916, he went
with his mother, who soon separated from her husband, to
the Isle of Pines, south of Cuba, where his grandfather
Hart had a fruit ranch; and this journey, which gave him
his :first experience of the sea, was cardinal in his growth.
The following year, he was in New York; in contact with
Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, editors of The Little
Review; tutoring for college; writing; already passionately
and rather wildly living. At this time, two almost mutually
exclusive tendencies divided the American literary scene.
One was centered by Ezra Pound, Alfred Kreymborg, the
imagists, Harriet Monroe's Poetry and The Little Review;
the other was grouped about The Seven A.rts. Young Crane
was in vital touch with hoth. He was reading Marlowe,
Donne, Rimbaud, Laforgue; but he was also finding in-
1 De#iMtioM. 1928. The essay in this volume on Crane, written in 1 9 2 5 ~
i., 10 far as I know, the first important study of the poet.
AN INTRODUCTION
spiration in Whitman, Sherwood Anderson and Melville.
His action, when the United States lurched into war, reveals
the complexity of his interests. He decided not to go to
college, and by his own choice, returned to Cleveland, to
work as a common laborer in a munition plant and a ship-
yard on the Lake. He loved machines, the earth-tang of
the workers. He was no poet in an ivory tower. But he also
loved music; he wanted time to write, to meditate, to read.
The conflict of desires led him, perhaps, to accept what
seemed a comfortable compromise; a job in the candy
business of his father where he hoped to find some leisure
without losing contact with the industrial world.
The elder Crane seems to have been a man of turbu-
lent and twisted power, tough-fihred and wholly loyal to
the gods of Commerce. He was sincerely outraged by the
jest of fortune which had given him a poet for a son.
Doubtless, he was bitter at his one child's siding with the
mother in the family conflict; but under all, there was a
secret emotional bond between the two, making for the
ricochet of antagonism and attraction that lasted between
them until the father's death, a year before the poet's. The
candy magnate set to work to drive the "poetry nonsense"
out of his boy. Hart became a candy salesman behind a
counter, a soda-jerker, a shipping clerk. He received a
minimum wage. Trusted employees were detailed to spy
on him lest he read Upoetry books" during work hours.
Hart Crane escaped several times from the paternal yoke,
usually to advertising jobs near home or in New Yark.
AN INTRODUCTION
And at last, in 1920, he decided to break with both Cleve-
land and his father_
His exquisite balance of nerves was already perma-
nently impaired. The youthful poet, who had left a com-
fortable household to live with machines and rough men,
who had shouldered "the curse of sundered parentage," 1
who had tasted the strong drink of literature and war,
carried within him a burden intricate and heavy, a burden
hard to hold in equilibrium. Doubtless, the chaos of his
personal life led him to rationalise that accessible tangent
ease from the strain of balance, which excess use of alcohol
invited. Yet there was a deeper cause for the dis-equilib-
rium which, when Crane was thirty-two, was finally to break
him from his love of life and destroy him.
Crane was a mystic. The mystic is a man who knows,
by immediate experience, the organic continuity between
his self and the cosmos. This experience, which is the
normal fruit of sensitivity, becomes intense in a man whose
native energy is great; and lest it turn into an overwhelm-
ing, shattering burden, it must be ruthlessly disciplined
and ordered. The easiest defense from this mystic hurden
is of course the common one of denying the mystic experi-
ence altogether. An anti-mystical age like ours is simply
one so innerly resourceless that it solves, by negation and
aggressive repression, the problem of organic continuity
between the self and a seemingly chaotic world-thus per-
petuating the inward-and-outward chaos. The true solution
1 Tie Bridge.
AN INTRODUCTION
is too arduous for most men: by self-knowledge and self-
discipline, it is to achieve within one's self a stable nucleus
to bear and finally transfigure the world's impinging chaos.
For the nucleus within the self, as it is gradually revealed,
is impersonal and cosmic; is indeed the dynamic key to
order in the "outward" world. By this synthesis of his
own burden, the mystic escapes from destruction and be-
comes a master. Crane did not personally achieve it. Yet he
was too virile to deny the experience of continuity; he let
the world pour in; and since his nuclear self was not disci-
plined to detachment from his nerves and passions, he
lived exacerbated in a constant swing between ecstasy and
exhaustion. Therefore, he needed the tangent release of
excess drink and sexual indulgence.
The poet was clearer and shrewder than the man. His
mind, grown strong, sought a poetic principle to integrate
the exuberant Hood of his impressions. The important
poems, anterior to The Bridge, and written between his
nineteenth and his twenty-fifth year, reveal this quest but
not the finding. As Allen Tate points out in his Introduction
to White Buildings (1926), "a suitable theme" is lacking.
The themes of these poems are high enough. But, to quote
Mr. Tate again: "A series of Imagist poems is a series of
worlds. The poems of Hart Crane are facets of a single
vision; they refer to a central imagination, a single evaluat-
ing power, which is at once the motive of the poetry and
the form of its realisation." This central imagination,
wanting the unitary principle or theme, wavers and breaks;
xiv
AN INTRODUCTION
turns hack upon itself instead of mastering the envisaged
substance of the poem. That is why, in this first group, a
fragmentary part of a poem is sometimes greater than the
whole. And that is why it is at times impossible to transpose
a series of images into the sense- and thought-sequence
that originally moved the poet and that must be perceived
in order to move the reader. The mediate principle, co-
terminous with both the absolute image-logic of the poem
and the thought-logic of the poet, and illumining the
latter in the former, is imperfect. The first lines of his
White Buildings
As silent as a mirror is believed
Realities plunge in silence by •• _
are a superb expression of chaos, and of the poet's need to
integrate this chaos within the active mirror of self. Page
after page, "realities plunge by," only ephemerally framed
in a mirroring mood which alas! at once melts, itself, into
the turbulent procession. Objective reality exists in these
poems only as an oblique moving-inward to the poet's mood.
But the mood is never, as in imagist or romantic verse,
given for and as itself. It is given only as a moving-outward
toward the objective world. Each lyric is a diapason be-
tween two integers of a continuous one. But the integers
(subjective and objective) are almost never clear; the sole
clarity is the balance of antithetical movements. This makes
of the poem an abstract, wavering, resthetic body. There is
not yet, as in the later work, a conscious, substantiated
AN INTRODUCTION
theme or principle of vision to stratify the interacting
parts of the poem into an immobile whole. But in the final
six lyrics (Voyages) there is the beginning of a synthesis
attained by the symbolic use of the Sea. The turbulent ex-
periences of Crane's childhood and youth are merged into
a litany of the Sea.
You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it
Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses
Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.
The bottom of the sea is cruel.
-And yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,
Samite sheeted and where
Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,
Laughing the rapt inflections of our love;
Take this Sea, whose diapason knells
On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,
The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends
As her demeanors motion well or ill,
All but the pieties of lovers' hands.
Here is the Sea, objective, huge, hostile, encompassing,
maternal.
-As if too brittle or too clear to touch!
The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed,
Already hang. shred ends from stars.
One frozen. trackless smile •.• What WO'l"ds
Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we
xvi
And
AN INTRODUCTION
Are overtaken. Now no cry, no sword
Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge,
Slow tyranny of moonlight, moonlight loveq
And changed . ...
... Blue latitudes and levels of your eyes,-
here, as William Carlos Williams has noted, is the Sea
giving to the poet's love its rhythm and very substance.
Crane is using the symbol of the Sea as a principle
of unity and release from the contradictions of personal
existence; much as D. H. Lawrence used the symbol of
perfect sexual union. Both, as poetic instruments for solving
the mystic's burden, are romantic and unreal; both denote
a return to a "beginning" before the life of reason, and a
unity won by the refusal of human consciousness. Lawrence
was satisfied with his symbol. Not Crane. His intellect was
more robust, his art more rigorous. Crane knew the Sea-
source of life, first Mother-as death to man; and that to
woo it was death. White Buildings closes on the note of
surrender. But the poet is ready to begin his quest again
for a theme that shall integrate, not destroy, the multiple
human world he loves.
In 1924, the poems of White Buildings written but
unpublished, Crane was living at no Columbia Heights,
Brooklyn, in range of the Harbor, the Bridge, the sea-
sounds:
Gongs in white sl(.rplices, beshrouJed wails,
Far strum of fog korns •• ••
xvii
AN INTRODUCTION
And now the integrating theme came to him. By the fall
of 1925, he had achieved the pattern of his Poem. He was
working as a writer of advertising copy. He appealed suc-
cessfully to Otto H. Kahn (his father, after he left Cleve-
land, gave him no financial assistance until the last years
when his son's fame began to impress him); and with a
generous purse he went to the Isle of Pines; then to Paris,
Marseilles, writing and-at intervals-rather riotously
living. The Poem. was completed in December, 1929. In
the interim, Crane had learned that the house where the
vision of The Bridge first came to him and where he fin-
ished it, was once the property of Washington Roebling,
and that the very room in which Crane lived had been em·
ployed by the paralysed engineer of Brooklyn Bridge as
an observation tower to watch its construction. In the year
when Crane first found his theme, Lewis Mumford was
prophetically writing:
" •.. beyond any other aspect of New York, I think, the Brooklyn
Bridge has been a source of joy and inspiration to the artist ....
All that the age had just cause for pride in-its advances in
science, its skill in handling iron, its personal heroism in the face
of dangerous industrial processes, its willingness to attempt the
untried and the impossible--came to a head in the Brooklyn
Bridge." 1
The Bridge was published in April, 1930 (a limited
first edition, inscribed to Otto H. Kahn, was issued earlier
in Paris by the Black Sun Press). In 1931, Crane received
~ i i i
AN INTRODUCTION
a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and went
to Mexico; his plan being to write a poem on the history
of Montezuma, a variation on the American theme which
The Bridge stated.
The principle that Hart Crane had sought, to make him
master of his sense of immediate continuity with a world
overwhelmingly chaotic, gave him The Bridge. But in ac-
tuallife, it did not sustain him. He had a literary method
to apply the principle to his vision; he had no psychological
method to apply it to his person. The symbol of the Sea
-theme of retreat into the unity of immersion and of dis-
solution-still bespoke him, as it had finally bespoken the
love experience in White Buildings. The Bridge, with its
challenging synthesis of life, wherein all the modern mul·
tiverse is accepted and transfigured without loss into One,
could not hold its poet. The poems later than The Bridge,
despite their technical perfection, mark a retreat from the
high position of that Poem back to the mood of White
Buildings-a return from grappling with the elements of
the industrial world back to the primal Mother world
whose symbol is the tropic Sea.
It was not accidental that Crane's tender friendships
were with boys who followed the Sea. And drink was the
Sea's coadjutor; for it gave Crane release not, as with
most men, from the burden of separateness from life, but
from the more intolerable burden of continuity with life's
chaos. The Sea had ebbed, while he stood high above it
on his mythic Bridge; now again it was rising.
xix
AN INTRODUCTION
Here waves climb into dusk on gleaming mail;
Invisible valves of the sear-locks, tendons
Crested and creeping, troughing corridors • ••
Nor was it accidental that Crane now chose to go to
Mexico, where for a thousand years a cult of Death-
personal immolation in a Nature ruthless and terrible as
the Sea-has been practiced by a folk of genius.
While Crane sailed to Mexico, I was writing:
"Perhaps the earth of Mexico conspired to create the tragic
mood of the Aztec, and to fulfill it in the Conquest from which
modern Mexico was born. It is an earth unwieldy to man's pleas-
ure. Titanic and volcanic mountains, mesetas of thin air, ex-
uberant valleys, burning deserts, encourage a culture not smiling
but extreme, from tears to frenzied laughter. This earth is a
tyrant; it exiles valley from valley, it begrudges loam for corn
or overwhelms it with torrential'rains. Man is a stranger within
it, and yet he loves it like a goddess, radiant, cruel, suddenly
indulgent, in whose house he must serve forever. It is no mystery
that in such an earth man should have built temples of blood or
possessed his life in contemplation of a loveliness deadly as fire
and distant as the stars.
"But this man was still man. In a hostile and adorable world,
man's and woman's love of life breathed on •••• " 1
The second paragraph refers to the Mexico of Revolu·
tion-"the will of Mexico to be free of its death and of
a beauty that flowers in death"; the first describes the
Mexico that now possessed Hart Crane. The periodicity of
his excesses grew swifter; the crystal intervening times
when he could write were crowded out. Crane fought.death
14merica Bi,spana.
AN INTRODUCTION
in Mexico. But on his return to New York, to the modern
chaos, there was the Sea: and he could not resist it.
On April 27, 1932, a few moments before noon, he
walked to the stem of the Orizaba. The boat was about
three hundred miles north of Havana, leaving the warm
waters which fifteen years before he had first known. He
took off his coat, quietly, and leaped.
C
THE beauty of most of Crane's lyrics and of many pas-
sages in The Bridge seems to me to be inviolable. If I
begin to analyse this conviction, I am brought first to the
poetic texture. Its traditional base is complex. Here is a
music plainly related to the Elizabethans. And here, also,
is a sturdy lilt, like the march of those equal children of
the Elizabethans--the pioneers. Although Crane describes
a modem cabaret,
Brazen hypnotics glitter here;
Glee shifts from foot to foot • ••
always, there is this homely metronomic, linking him to
his fathers. Hence the organic soundness of the verse. Its
livingness it owes to the dimension of variant emergence
from the traditional music--like the emergence of our
industrial world from the base of old America. Indeed,
the entire intellectual and spiritual content of Crane's
verse, and of Crane the child of modern man, could he
xxi
AN INTRODUCTION
derived from a study of his typical texture. And this is
earnest of his importance.
But an analysis of Crane's poetics does not belong
in a brief introduction. More fitting, perhaps, will be a
swift outline of the action of The Bridge, if it help the
reader to give his whole attention at once to that Poem's
inner substance.
The will of Crane in The Bridge becomes deliberately
myth.making. But this will, as we have seen, is born of
a desperate, personal need: the poet must create order
from the chaos with which his associative genius over·
whelms him. The Poem retains the personal origin of its
own will. The revelation of The Bridge, as myth and prin-
ciple, comes to a person in the course of his day's business;
and that person is the poet. In this sense, The Bridge is
allied to the Commedia of Dante who also, in response to
desperate need, takes a journey in the course of which his
need finds consummation.
Lest the analogy be misleading, I immediately amend
it. Dante's cosmos, imaged in an age of cultural maturity,
when the life of man was coterminous with his vision, con-
tains Time and persons: only in the ecstatic last scenes of
the Paradiso are they momently merged and lost. There-
fore, the line of Dante's Poem is ~ w a y s clear, being forth
and back. in Time: and the focus of the action is always
cogent, being the person of the Poet with whom the reader
can readily graph points of reference. Crane'a cosmos
{:for reasons which we examined when we called Crane a
xxii
AN INTRODUCTION
child of modem man, a poet innocent of culture-words)
has no Time: and his person-sense is vacillant and evanes-
cent. Crane's journey is that of an individual unsure of
his own form and lost to Time. This difference at once
clarifies the disadvantageous resthetic of The Bridge, as
compared with that of broadly analogous Poems of cosmic
search, like the Commeaia or Don Quixote. It exemplifies
the rOle played by the cultural epoch in the creation of
even the most personal work of genius.
In Proem, the poet exhorts the ohject of his choice--
the Bridge. It shall synthesise the world of chaos. It joins
city, river, and sea; man made it with his new Hand, the
machine. And parabolawise, it shall now vault the con-
tinent and, transmuted, reach that inward heaven which
is the fulfi.llment of man's need of order. Part One, Ave
Maria, is the vision of Columbus, mystic navigator who
mapped his voyage in Isaiah, seeking to weld the world's
riven halves into one. But this Columbus is scarcely a
person; he is suffused in his history and his ocean; his
will is more substantial than his eye. Nor does he live in
Time. Part Two, Pwihutrm's Dauglaer (the Indian Prin-
cess is the flesh of America, the American earth, and
mother of our dream), begins the recital of the poet's
journey which in tum traces in extension (as Columbus
in essence) the myth's trajectory. The poet awakes in his
room above the Harbor, beside his lover. Risen (taking
the harbor and the sea-sounds with him), he walks through
the lowly Brooklyn streets: hut walks with his cultural
xxiii.
AN INTRODUCTION
past: Pizarro, Cortes, Priscilla, and now Rip Van Winkle
whose eyes, fresh from sleep, will abide the poet's as
they approach the transfigured world of today. He de·
scends the subway that tunnels the East River (the Bridge
is above); and now the subway is a river "leaping" from
Far Rockaway to Golden Gate. A river of steel rails
at first, bearing westward America's urban civilisation
("Stick your patent name on a signboard") and waking
as it runs the burdened trudge of pioneers and all their
worlds of factory and song. The patterning march of the
American settlers traces the body, gradually, of Poca-
hontas; the flow of continent and man becomes the Great
River; the huge travail of continental life, after the white
man and before him, is borne southward, "meeting the
Gulf." Powhatan's daughter, America's flesh, dances and
the flesh becomes spirit. Dances the poet's boyhood mem-
ories of star and lake, of "sleek boat nibbling margin
grass"; dances at last into the life of an Indiana mother,
home from a frustrate trek to California for gold, who
is bidding her son farewell; he is going east again to
follow the sea. ("Write me from Rio.")
There are no persons in the universe, barely emergent
from chaos, of Hart Crane; and this first crystallisation-
the prairie mother--is the first weak block in the Poem's
structure. N o w ~ with Part Three, Cuttr Sark, the physical
course of the poet (the subway ride has exploded into the
cosmic implications of the River) returns to view, but
'blurred. The poet is in South Street, Manhattan, near mid·
xxiv
AN INTRODUCTION
night: he is carousing with a sailor who brings him, in
snatches of song, Leviathan, Plato, Stamboul-and the
dim harbinger of Atlantis. "I started walking home across
the Bridge"; and there, in the hallucinatory parade of
clippers who once winked round the Hom "hright sky.
sails ticketing the Line," the poet is out again, now sea-
ward.
Part Four, Cape Hatteras, is the turning point of
the Poem. Thus far, we have seen the individual forms of
the poet's crowded day melt into widening, deepening
cycles of association. Columbus into the destiny and will
of the Atlantic: two lovers into the harbor, the harbor
into the sea: a subway into a transcontinental railroad,
into a continent, into a River; the River into the Gulf;
the Indian princess into the Earth Mother and her dance
into the tumult and traffic of the nation; ribald South
Street into a vision-while the Bridge brings the clippers
that bring China-of Atlantis. Now, the movement tums
back toward crystallisation. Cape Hatteras at first invokes
the geologic age that lifted the Appalachians above the
waters; the cosmic struggle sharpens into the hirth of the
airplane-industrial America; the "red, eternal flesh of
Pocahontas" gives us, finally, Walt Whitman. "Years of
the Modern! Propulsions toward what capes?" The Saun-
terer on the Open Road takes the hand of the poet. Part
Five, Three Songs, is a pause for humbler music, upon
the variable theme of woman. Part Six, Quaker Hill, is
an attempt to focus the cosmic journey once more upon
xxv
AN INTRODUCTION
the person of the poet. In my judgment, it fails for the
same basic reasons. And now, Part Seven, The Tunnel,
runs swift and fatefully to the climax. The poet, in mid
air at midnight, leaves the Bridge; he "comes down to
earth" and returns home as he had left, by subway. This
unreal collapse of bridge into subway has meaning. The
subway is the tunnel; is the whole life of the city entex-
tured of all the images created by the Poem, all the
previous apparitions of earth and sun. The tunnel is
America, and is a kind of hell. But it has dynamic direc-
tion, it is moving! In the plunging subway darkness,
appears Poe:
And why do 1 often meet your visage here,
Your eyes like agate lanterns • .. ?
If the reader understands Poe, he will understand the
apparition. Of all the classic poets of the great tradition
in America, Poe-perhaps the least as artist-was the most
advanced, the most prophetic as thinker. All, as we have
noted, were content more or less with the merely trans-
planted terms of an agrarian culture. Only Poe guessed
the transfiguring effect of the Machine upon the forms of
human life, upon the very concept of the person. The
Tunnel gives us man in his industrial hell which the
machine---his hand and heart-has made; now let the
machine he his godlike Hand to uplift him! The plung-
ing subway shall merge with the vaulting bridge. Whitman
gives the vision; Poe, however vaguely, the method. The
xxvi
AN INTRODUCTION
final part, Atlantis, is a transposed return to the begin-
ning. The Bridge, in Time, has linked Atlantis with Cathay.
Now it becomes an absolute experience. Like any human
event, fully known, it links man instantaneously, "beyond
time," with the Truth.
THE structural pattern of The Bridge is superb: a man
moves of a morning from Brooklyn to Manhattan, returns
at midnight, each stage of his course adumbrating, by the
mystic law of continuity, into American figures with cos-
mic overtones; and all caught up in a mythic bridge whose
functional span is a parabola and an immediate act of
vision. The flaw lies in the weakness of the personal
crystallisation upon which the vision rests, as the Bridge
is spanned upon its piers. This flaw gets into the idiom
and texture. Sometimes the image blurs, the sequence
breaks, the plethora of words is blinding. There is even,
in the development of certain figures, a tendency toward
inflation which one is tempted to connect with the febrile,
false ebullience of the American epoch (1924.1929) in
which the Poem was written. Yet the concept is sound;
the poet's genius has on the whole equalled his ambition.
Even the failings in execution, since they are due to weak-
ness of the personal focus, help to express the epoch; for it
is in the understanding and creating of persons that our
rapidly collectivising age is poorest.
xxvii
AN INTRODUCTION
Crane's myth must, of course, not be confused with
the myth as we :find it in Homer or the Bible or the
Nibelungen. The Bridge is not a particularised being to
be popularly sung; it is a conceptual symbol to be used.
And the fact that this symbol begins as a man-constructed
thing is of the essence of its truth for our instrumental
age. From a machine-made entity, the Poem makes the
Bridge into a machine. But it has beauty. This means that
through the men who builded it, the life of America has
flowed into the Bridge-the life of our past and o'ur
future. A cosmic content has given beauty to the Bridge;
now it must give it a poetic function. From being a ma-
chine of body, it becomes an instrument of spirit. The
Bridge is matter made into human action.
We may con:6.dently say that this message of The
Bridge will be more comprehensible in the future (not
in the immediate future), when the functionally limited
materialism of our collectivist era has, through success,
grown inadequate to the deepened needs of a mankind
released from economic insecurity and prepared, by
leisure, for regeneration. For even as necessity, today and
tomorrow, drives most men to think collectively in order
that they may survive; necessity, day after tomorrow, will
drive men to think personally (poetically, cosmically), in
order that their survival may have meaning. When the '
collectivist era has done its abolition of eco-
nomic classes and of animal want-men will turn, as only

AN INTRODUCTION
the privileged of the past could ever turn, toward the dis-
covery of Man.
But when that time comes, the message of The Bridge
will be taken for granted; it will be too obvious, even as
today it is too obscure, for general interest. The revela-
tion in Crane's poems, however, of a man who through
the immediate conduit of his senses experienced the or-
ganic unity between his self, the objective world, and the
cosmos, will be accepted as a great human value. And
the poems, whose very texture reveals and sings this man,
will be remembered.
WALDO FRANK
New York. Def;ember 1932
CONTENTS
Editor's Note
An Introduction by Waldo Frank
ONE' THE BRIDGE
Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge
I. Ave Maria
Do Powhatan's Daughter
1. The Harbor Dawn
2. Van Winkle
S. The River
4. The Dance
5. Indiana
m. Cutty Sark
IV. Cape Hatteraa
v. Three Songs
1. Southern Cross
2. National Winter Garden
s. Virginia
VI. Quaker Hill
'VII. The Tunnel
'VJII. Atlantis
v
vii
S
5
9
11
13
19
24
27
31
40
42
44
45
49
5S
TWO· WHITE BUILDINGS
Legend 61
Black Tambourine 63
Emblems of Conduct 64
My Grandmother's Love Letters 65
Sunday Morning Apples 67
Praise for an Urn 68
Garden Abstract 70
Stark Major 71
Chaplinesque 73
Pastorale 75
In Shadow 76
The Fernery 77
North Labrador
78
Repose of Rivers 79
Paraphrase 81
Possessions 82
Lachrymae Christi 84
Passage 86
The Wine Menagerie 88
Recitative 91
For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen 93
At Melville's Tomb 100
Voyages, I, II, III, IV, V, VI 101
THREE' KEY WEST: AN ISLAND SHEAF
Key West
o Carib Isle!
The Mango Tree
Island Quarry
The Mermen
113
114
116
117
118
'fte Idtot
A Name for All
Royal Palm
The Air Plant
Imperator Victus
The Hurricanp.
Bacardi Spreads the Eagle's Wings
And Bees of Paradise
To Emily Dickinson
Moment Fugue
To the Cloud Juggler
By Nilus Once 1 Knew •••
To Shakespeare
The B r o ~ e u Tower
The Phantom Bark
March
Old Song
FOUR· UNCOLLECTED POEMS
A Traveler Bom
Enrich My Resignation
The Sad Indian
The Circumstance
The Visible the Untrue
Reliquary
Purgatorio
Havana Rose
Reply
A Postscript
Eternity
The Return
119
120
121
122
123
124
126
127
128
129
130
132
133
135
-
137
l38
139
143
144
145
146
148
150
151
152
154
155
156
lSQ
APPENDIX
A'EARLY POEMS
The Hive
Annunciations
The Bathers
Modern Craft
Carrier Letter
October-November
Fear
Postscript
To Potapovitch
Forgetfulness
B·MODERN POETRY: A.n Essay
175
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
ONE· THE BRIDGE
From going to and fro in the earth,
aM from walking up and dlYWn in it.
THE BOOE: OF JOB
TO BROOKLYN BRIDGE
How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty-
Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
- Till elevators drop us from our day .••
I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some :Bashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;
And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced
As though the sun took step of thee, yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,-
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!
Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.
3
THE BRIDGE
Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip.tooth of the sky's acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn •.•
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.
And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon ••• Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.
o harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet's pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover's cry,-
Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path - condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.
Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City's fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year •••
o Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.
4
I
AVE MARIA
Venient tmnis, s(lIcuia seris,
Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum
Laxet et ingens pateat tellus
Tiphysque 1I01J(}S detegat orbes
Nee sit terris ultima Thule.
-SENECA
BE with me, Luis de San Angel, now-
Witness before the tides can wrest away
The word I bring, 0 you who reined my suit
Into the Queen's great heart that doubtful day;
For I have seen now what no perjured breath
Of clown nor sage can riddle or gainsay; -
To you, too, Juan Perez, whose counsel fear
And greed adjoumed,- I bring you back Cathay!
Here waves climb into dusk on gleaming mail;
Invisible valves of the sea,-locks, tendons
Crested and creeping, troughing corridors
That fall back yawning to another plunge.
Slowly the sun's red caravel drops light
Once more behind us •••• It is morning there-
o where our Indian emperies lie revealed,
Yet lost, all, let this keel one instant yield!
I thought of Genoa; and this truth, now proved,
That made me exile in her streets, stood me
5
THE BRIDGE
More absolute than ever - biding the moon
Till dawn should clear that dim frontier, first seen
- The Chan's great continent. .•. Then faith, not fear
Nigh surged me witless •••• Hearing the surf near-
I, wonder-breathing, kept the watch,- saw
The first palm chevron the first lighted hill.
And lowered. And they came out to us crying,
"The Great White Birds!" (0 Madre Maria, still
One ship of these thou grantest safe returning;
Assure us through thy mantle's ageless blue!)
And record of more, floating in a casque,
Was tumbled from us under bare poles scudding;
And later hurricanes may claim more pawn ..••
For here between two worlds, another, harsh,
This third, of water, tests the word; 10, here
Bewilderment and mutiny heap whelming
Laughter, and shadow cuts sleep from the heart
Almost as though the Moor's flung scimitar
Found more than flesh to fathom in its fall.
Yet under tempest-lash and surfeitings
Some inmost sob, half-heard, dissuades the abys!,
Merges the wind in measure to the waves,
Series on series, infinite,- till eyes
Starved wide on blackened tides, accrete - enclose
This turning rondure whole, this crescent ring
Sun-cusped and 2ioned with modulated fire
Like pearls that whisper through the Doge's hands
6
THE BRIDGE
-Yet no delirium of jewels! 0 Fernando,
Take of that eastern shore, this western sea,
Yet yield thy God's, thy Virgin's charity!
- Rush down the plenitude, and you shall see
Isaiah counting famine on this lee!
*
An herb, a stray branch among salty teeth,
The jellied weeds that drag the shore,- perhaps
Tomorrow's moon will grant us Saltes Bar-
Palos again,- a land cleared of long war.
Some Angelus environs the cordage tree;
Dark waters onward shake the dark prow free.
*
o Thou who sleepest on Thyself, apart
Like ocean athwart lanes of death and hirth,
And all the eddying breath between dost search
Cruelly with love thy parable of man,-
Inquisitor! incognizable Word
Of Eden and the enchained Sepulchre,
Into thy steep savannahs, burning blue,
Utter to loneliness the sail is true.
Who grindest oar, and arguing the mast
Subscribest holocaust of ships, 0 Thou
Within whose primal scan consummately
The glistening seignories of Ganges swim;-
Who sendest greeting by the corposant,
7
THE BRIDGE
And Teneriffe's garnet - flamed it in a cloud,
Urgillg through night our passage to the Chan;-
Te Deum laudamus, for thy teeming span!
Of all that amplitude that time explores,
A needle in the sight, suspended north,-
Yielding by inference and discard, faith
And true appointment from the hidden shoal:
This disposition that thy night relates
From Moon to Saturn in one sapphire wheel:
The orbic wake of thy once whirling feet,
Elohim, still I hear thy sounding heel!
White toil of heaven's cordons, mustering
In holy rings all sails charged to the far
Hushed gleaming fields and pendant seething wheat
Of knowledge,- round thy brows unhooded now
- The kindled Crown! acceded of the poles
And biassed by full sails, meridians reel
Thy purpose - still one shore beyond desire!
The sea's green crying towers a-sway, Beyond
And kingdoms
naked in the
trembling heart-
Te Deum laudamus
o Thou Hand of Fire
8
II
-POWHATAN'S DAUGHTER
"-Pocahuntus, a well-featured but wan-
ton 'long girle .•. 01 the age of eleven or
twelve years, get the boyes forth with her
into the market place, and make them
wheeZe, lalling on the/,T hands, turning their
heels upwards, whom she would followe,
and wheele so herself, naked as she was,
all the fort ooer."
THE HARBOR DAWN
INSISTENTLY through sleep- a tide of voices-
They meet you listening midway in your dream,
The long, tired sounds, fog-insulated noises:
Gongs in white surplices, beshrouded wails,
Far strum of fog horns ••• signals dispersed in veils.
And then a truck will lumber past the wharves
As winch engines begin throbbing on some deck;
Or a drunken stevedore's howl and thud below
Comes echoing alley-upward through dim snow.
And if they take your sleep away sometimes
They give it back again. Soft sleeves of sound
Attend the darkling harbor, the pillowed bay;
Somewhere out there in blankness steam
Spills into steam, and wanders, washed away
- Flurried by keen :6.fings, eddied
9
THE BRIDGE
Among distant chiming buoys - adrift. The sky,
Cool feathery fold, suspends, distills
This wavering slumber .••• Slowly-
Immemorially the window, the half.covered chair,
Ask: nothing but this sheath of pallid air.
And you beside me, blessed now while sirens
Sing to us, stealthily weave us into day-
Serenely now, before day claims our eyes
Your cool arms murmurously about me lay.
While myriad snowy hands are clustering at the panes -
your hands within my hands are deeds;
my tongue upon your throat - singing
arms close; eyes wide, undoubtful
dark
drink the dawn-
a forest shudders in your hair!
The window goes hlond slowly. Frostily clears.
From Cyclopean towers across Manhattan waters
- Two - three hright window-eyes aglitter, disk
The sun, released - aloft with cold gulls hither.
The fog leans one last moment on the sill.
Under the mistletoe of dreams, a star -
As though to join us at some distant hill-
Turns in the waking west and goes to sleep.
10
THE BRIDGE
VAN WINKLE
MACADAM, gun-grey as the tunny's belt,
Leaps from Far Rockaway to Golden Gate:
Listen! the miles a hurdy-gurdy grinds-
Down gold arpeggios mile on mile unwinds.
Times earlier, when you hurried off to school
- It is the same hour though a later day-
You walked with Pizarro in a copybook,
And Cortez rode up, reining tautly in-
Firmly as coffee grips the taste,- and away!
There was Priscilla's cheek close in the wind,
And Captain Smith, all beard and certainty,
And Rip Van Winkle bowing by the way,-
"Is this Sleepy Hollow, friend -?" And he -
And Rip forgot the office hours,
ani/, he forgot the pay;
17 an Winkle sweeps a tenement
way down on Avenue A,-
The grind-organ says ••• Remember, remember
The cinder pile at the end of the backyard
Where we stoned the family of young
Garter snakes under .•• And the monoplanes
We launched-with paper wings and. twisted
Rubber bands ••• Recall- recall
11
THE BRIDGE
the rapid tongues
That flittered from under the ash heap day
After day whenever your stick discovered
Some sunning inch of unsuspecting fibre -
It flashed back at your thrust, as clean as fire.
And Rip was slowly made aware
that he, V an Winkle, was not here
nor there. He woke and swore he'd seen Broadway
a Catskill daisy chain in May -
So memory, that strikes a rhyme out of a hox
Or splits a random smell of flowers through glass -
Is it the whip stripped from the lilac tree
One day in spring my father took to me,
Or is it the Sabbatical, unconscious smile
My mother almost brought me once from church
And once only, as I recall-?
It flickered through the snow screen, blindly
It forsook her at the doorway, it was gone
Before I had left the window. It
Did not return with the kiss in the hall.
Macadam, gun-grey as the tunny's helt,
Leaps from Far Rockaway to Golden Gate .•••
Keep hold of that nickel for car-change, Rip,-
Have you got your "Times"-?
And hurry along, Van Winkle- it's getting late!
12
THE BRIDGE
THE RIVER
S TIC It your patent name on a signboard
hrother - all over - going west - young man
Tintex - J apalac - Certain-teed Overalls ads
and lands sakes! under the new playhill ripped
in the guaranteed comer - see Bert Williams what?
Minstrels when you steal a chicken just
save me the wing for if it isn't
Erie it ain't for miles around a
Mazda - and the telegraphic night coming on Thomas
a Ediford - and whistling down the tracks
a headlight rushing with the sound - can you
imagine - while an EXpress makes time like
SCIENCE - COMMERCE and the BOLYGBOST
RADIO ROARS IN EVERY BOME WE RAVE TBE NORTBPOLE
WALLSTREET AND VIRGINBmTB WITHOUT STONES OR
WIRES OR EVEN RUNning hrooks connecting ears
and no more sermons windows flashing roar
Breathtaking - as you like it •.. eh?
So the 20th Century - so
whizzed the Limited - roared by and left
three men, still hungry on the tracks, ploddingly
watching the taillights wizen and converge, slip-
ping gimleted and neatly out of sight.
*
18
THE BRIDGE
The last bear, shot drinking in the Dakotas
Loped under wires that span the mountain stream.
Keen instruments, strung to a vast precision
Bind town to town and dream to ticking dream.
. But some men take their liquor slow - and count
- Though they'll confess no rQsary nor clue-
The river's minute by the far brook's year.
Under a world of whistles, wires and steam
Caboose-like they go ruminating through
Ohio, Indiana - blind baggage -
To Cheyenne tagging ••• Maybe Kalamazoo.
Time's rendings, time's blendings they construe
As final reckonings of fire and snow;
Strange bird.wit, like the elemental gist
Of unwalled winds they offer, singing low
My Old Kentucky Home and Casey Jones,
Some Sunny Day. I heard a road-gang chanting so.
And afterwards, who had a colt's eyes - one said,
"Jesus! Oh I remember watermelon days!" And sped
High in a cloud of merriment, recalled
"-And when my Aunt Sally Simpson smiled," he
drawled-
"It was almost Louisiana, long ago."
"There's no place like Booneville though, Buddy,"
One said, excising a last burr from his vest,
"-For early trouting." Then peering in the can,
"-But I kept on the tracks.
n
Possessed, resigned,
14
THE BRIDGE
He ,trod the fire down pensively and grinned, .
Spreading dry shingles of a beard ••••
Behind
My father's cannery works I used to see
Rail.squatters ranged in nomad raillery,
The ancient men - wifeless or runaway
Hobo-trekkers that forever search
An empire wilderness of freight and rails.
Each seemed a child, like me, on a loose perch,
Holding to childhood like some termless play.
John, Jake or Charley, hopping the slow freight
- Memphis to Tallahassee - riding the rods,
Blind fists of nothing, humpty-dumpty clods.
Yet they touch something like a key perhaps.
From pole to pole across the hills, the states
- They know a body under the wide rain;
Youngsters with eyes like fjords, old reprobates
With racetrack jargon,- dotting immensity
They lurk across her, knowing her yonder breast
Snow-silvered, sumac-stained or smoky blue -
Is past the valley-sleepers, south or west.
- As I have trod the rumorous midnights, too,
And past the circuit of the lamp's thin flame
(0 Nights that brought me to her body bare!)
Have dreamed beyond the print that bound her name.
Trains sounding the long blizzards out - I heard
Wail into distances I knew were hers.
15
THE BRIDGE
Papooses crying on the wind's long mane
Screamed redskin dynasties that fled the brain,
- Dead echoes! But I knew her body there,
Time like a serpent down her shoulder, dark,
And space, an eaglet's wing, laid on her hair.
Under the Ozarks, domed by Iron Mountain,
The old gods of the rain lie wrapped in pools
Where eyeless fish curvet a sunken fountain
And re-descend with corn from querulous crows.
Such pilferings make up their timeless eatage,
Propitiate them for their timber torn
By iron, iron - always the iron dealt cleavage!
They doze now, below axe and powder horn.
And Pullman breakf asters glide glistening steel
From tunnel into field - iron strides the dew-
Straddles the hill, a dance of wheel on wheel.
You have a half-hour's wait at Siskiyou,
Or stay the night and take the next train through.
Southward, near Cairo passing, you can see
The Ohio merging,- borne down Tennessee;
And if it's summer and the sun's in dusk
Maybe the breeze will lift the River's musk
- As though the waters breathed that you might know
Memphis Johnny, Steamboat Bill, Missouri Joe.
Oh, lean from the window, if the train slows down,
As though you touched hands with some ancient clown,
- A little while gaze absently below
And hum Deep River with them while they go.
16
THE BRIDGE
Yes, turn again and sniff once more -look see.
o Sheriff, Brakeman and Authority -
Hitch up your pants and crunch another quid,
For you, too, feed the River timelessly.
And few evade full measure of their fate;
Always they smile out eerily what they seem.
I could believe he joked at heaven's gate -
Dan Midland - jolted from the cold brake-beam.
Down, down - bom pioneers in time's despite,
Grimed tributaries to an ancient :Bow -
They win no frontier by their wayward plight,
But drift in stillness, as from Jordan's brow.
You will not hear it as the sea; even stone
Is not more hushed by gravity •.• But slow,
As loth to take more tribute - sliding prone
Like one whose eyes were buried long ago
The River, spreading, :Bows - and spends your dream.
What are you, lost within this tideless spell?
You are your father's father, and the stream-
A liquid theme that :Boating niggers swell.
Damp tonnage and alluvial march of days-
:Nights turbid, vascular with silted shale
And roots surrendered down of moraine clays:
The Mississippi drinks the farthest dale.
o quarrying passion, undertowed sunlight!
The basalt surface drags a jungle grace
17
THE BRIDGE
Ochreous and lynx.barred in lengthening might;
Patience! and you shall reach the hiding place!
Over De Soto's bones the freighted Hoors
Throb past the City storied of three thrones.
Down two more turns the Mississippi pours
(Anon tall ironsides up from salt lagoons)
And Hows within itself, heaps itself free.
All fades hut one thin skyline 'round ... Ahead
No embrace opens hut the stinging sea;
The River lifts itself from its long hed,
Poised wholly on its dream, a mustard glow
Tortured with history, its one will- flow!
- The Passion spreads in wide tongues, choked and slow,
Meeting the Gulf, hosannas silently below.
18
THE BRIDGE
THE DANCE
THE swift red Hesh, a winter king-
Who squired the glacier woman down the sky?
She ran the neighing canyons all the spring;
She spouted arms; she rose with maize - to die.
And in the autumn drouth, whose burnished hands
With mineral wariness found out the stone
Where prayers, forgotten, streamed the mesa sands?
He holds the twilight's dim, perpetual throne.
Mythical brows we saw retiring - loth,
Disturbed and destined, into denser green.
Greeting they sped us, on the arrow's oath:
Now lie incorrigibly what years between •••
There was a bed of leaves, and broken play;
There was a veil upon you, Pocahontas, bride-
o Princess whose brown lap was virgin May;
And bridal fianks and eyes hid tawny pride.
I left the village for dogwood. By the canoe
Tugging below the mill-race, I could see
Your hair's keen crescent rwming, and the blue
First moth of evening take wing stealthily.
What laughing chains the water wove and threw!
I learned to catch the trout's moon whisper; I
19
THE BRIDGE
Drifted how many hours I never knew,
But, watching, saw that fleet young crescent die,-
And one star, swinging, take its place, alone,
Cupped in the larches of the mountain pass-
Until, immortally, it hIed into the dawn.
I left my sleek boat nibhling margin grass •••
I took the portage climb, then chose
A further valley.shed; I could not stop.
Feet nozzled wat'ry wehs of upper flows;
One white veil gusted from the very top.
o Appalachian Spring! I gained the ledge;
Steep, inaccessible smile that eastward hends
And northward reaches in that violet wedge
Of Adirondacks!- wisped of azure wands,
Over how many hluffs, tarns, streams I sped!
- And knew myself within some boding shade:-
Grey tepees tufting the blue knolls ahead,
Smoke swirling through the yellow chestnut glade •••
A distant cloud, a thunder-hud - it grew,
That blanket of the skies: the padded fool
Within,- I heard it; 'til its rhythm drew,
- Siphoned the black pool from the heart's hot root!
A cyclone threshes in the turhine crest,
Swooping in eagle feathers down yoUX' hack;
20
THE BRIDGE
Know, Maquokeeta, greeting; know death's hest;
- Fall, Sachem, strictly as the tamarack!
A birch kneels. All her whistling fingers fly.
The oak grove circles in a crash of leaves;
The long moan of a dance is in the sky.
Dance, Maquokeeta: Pocahontas grieves •••
And every tendon scurries toward the twangs
Of lightning deltaed down your saher hair.
Now snaps the flint in every tooth; red fangs
And splay tongues thinly busy the blue air •••
Dance, Maquokeeta! snake that lives before,
That casts his pelt, and lives beyond! Sprout, homl
Spark, tooth! Medicine--man, relent, restore-
Lie to us,- dance us back the tribal mom!
Spears and assemblies: black drums thrusting on-
o yelling battlements,- I, too, was liege
To rainbows currying each pulsant hone:
Surpassed the circumstance, danced out the siege!
And buzzard.circletecI, screamed from the stake;
I could not pick the arrows from my side.
Wrapped in that:fire, I saw more escorts wake-
Flickering, sprint up the hill groins like a tide.
I heard the hush of lava wrestling your a:rDlSt
And stag teeth foam about the raven throat;
21
THE BRIDG-E
Flame cataracts of heaven in seething swarms
Fed down your anklets to the sunset's moat.
0, like the lizard in the furious noon,
That drops his legs and colors in the sun,
- And laughs, pure serpent, Time itself, and moon
Of his own fate, I saw thy change begun!
And saw thee dive to kiss that destiny
Like one white meteor, sacrosanct and hlent
At last with all that's consummate and free
There, where the first and last gods keep thy tent.
*
Thewed of the levin, thunder-shod and lean,
Lo, through what infinite seasons dost thou gaze-
Across what bivouacs of thin angered slain,
And see'st thy hride immortal in the maize!
Totem and fire-gall, slumbering pyramid -
Though other calendars now stack the sky,
Thy freedom is her largesse, Prince, and hid
On paths thou knewest hest to claim her hy.
High unto Lahrador the sun strikes free
Her speechless dream of snow, and stirred again,
She is the torrent and the singing tree;
And she is virgin to the last of men •••
West, west and south! winds over Cumberland
And winds across the llano grass resume
22
THE BRIDGE
Her hair's warm sibilance. Her breasts are fanned
o stream by slope and vineyard - into bloom!
And when the caribou slant down for salt
Do arrows thirst and leap? Do antlers shine
Alert, star-triggered in the listening vault
Of dusk?-And are her perfect brows to thine?
We danced, 0 Brave, we danced beyond their farms,
In cobalt desert closures made our vows .••
Now is the strong prayer folded in thine arms,
The serpent with the eagle in the boughs.
THE BRIDGE
INDIANA
THE morning-glory, climbing the morning long
Over the lintel on its wiry vine,
. Closes before the dusk, furls in its song
As I close mine •••
And bison thunder rends my dreams no more
As once my womb was torn, my boy, when you
Yielded your first cry at the prairie's door •••
Your father knew
Then, though we'd buried him behind us, far
Back on the gold trail - then his lost bones stirred ..•
But you who drop the scythe to grasp the oar
Knew not, nor heard.
How we, too, Prodigal, once rode off, too -
Waved Seminary Hill a gay good-bye .••
We found God lavish there in Colorado
But passing sly.
The pebbles sang, the firecat slunk away
And glistening through the sluggard freshets came
In golden syllables loosed from the clay
His gleaming name.
A dream called Eldorado was his town,
It rose up shambling in the nuggets' wake,
24
THE BRIDGE
It had no charter hut a promised crown
Of claims to stake.
But we,- too late, too early, howsoever-
Won nothing out of fifty-nine - those years-
But gilded promise, yielded to us never,
And harren tears •••
The long trail hack! I huddled in the shade
Of wagon-tenting looked out once and saw
Bent westward, passing on a stumbling jade
A homeless squaw-
Perhaps a halfhreed. On her slender hack
She cradled a babe's body, riding without rein.
Her eyes, strange for an Indian's, were not hlack
But sharp with pain
And like twin stars. They seemed to shun the gaze
Of all our silent men - the long team line -
Until she saw me - when their violet haze
Lit with love shine •••
J held you up - I suddenly the holder,
Knew that mere words could not have hrought us nearer.
She nodded - and that smile across her shoulder
Will still endear her
AB long as Jim, your father's memory, is warm.
y ~ Larry, now you're going to sea, remember
2S
THE BRIDGE
You were the :first - before Ned and this farm,-
First-born, remember-
And since then - all that's left to me of Jim
Whose folks, like mine, came out of Arrowhead.
And you're the only one with eyes like him -
Kentucky bred!
I'm standing still, I'm old, I'm half of stone!
Oh, hold me in those eyes' engaging blue;
There's where the stubborn years gleam and atone,-
Where gold is true!
Down the dim turnpike to the river's edge-
Perhaps I'll hear the mare's hoofs to the ford ..•
Write me from Rio ..• and you'll keep your pledge;
I know your word!
Come back to Indiana - not too late!
(Or will you be a ranger to the end?)
Good-bye ••. Good-bye ••• oh, I shall always wait
You, Larry, traveller -
stranger,
son,
-my friend-
26
III
CUTTY SARK
O. the ntwies old and oaken..
O. the Temerai.re no more!
-JlELVILLl!:
I 1\01 ETa man in South Street, tall-
a nervous shark tooth swung on his chain.
His eyes pressed through green grass
- green glasses, or bar lights made them
so-
shine-
GREEN-
eyes-
stepped out-forgot to look at you
or left you several blocks away-
in the nickel-in-the-slot piano jogged
"Stamhoul Nights"- weaving somebody's nickel-
sang-
o Stamboul Rose - dreams wea'lJe the rose!
Murmurs of Leviathan he spoke,
and rum was Plato in our heads .••
"It's S.S .. Ala - Antwerp - now remember kid
to put me out at three she sails on time.
27
TilE BRIDGE
I'm not much good at time any more keep
weakeyed watches sometimes snooze -" his hony hands
got to heating time ... "A whaler once-
I ought to keep time and get over it - I'm a
Democrat - 1 know what time it is - No
1 don't want to know what time it is - that
damned white Arctic killed my time •.• "
o Stamboul Rose - drums weave -
"1 ran a donkey engine down there on the Canal
in Panama - got tired of that -
then Yucatan selling kitchenware - heads -
have you seen Popocatepetl- hirdless mouth
with ashes sifting down-?
and then the coast again ••• ' ~
Rose of Stamboul 0 coral Queen-
teased remnants of the skeletons of cities-
and galleries, galleries of watergutted lava
snarling stone - green - drums - drown -
Sing!
"-that spiracle!" he shot a finger out the door •••
"0 life's a geyser - heautiful- my lungs-
No - 1 can't live on land -1"
I saw the frontiers gleaming of his mind;
or are there frontiers - running sands sometimes
running sands - somewhere - sands running •••
28
THE BRIDGE
Or they may start some white machine that sings.
Then you may laugh and dance the axletree -
steel- silver - kick the traces - and know-
ATLANTIS ROSE drums wreathe the rose,
the star fiooJs burning in a gulf of tears
and sleep another thousand-
interminably
long since somebody's nickel- stopped -
playing-
A wind worried those wicker-neat lapels, the
swinging summer entrances to cooler hells •••
Outside a wharf truck nearly ran him down
-he lunged up Bowery way while the dawn
was putting the Statue of Liberty out - that
torch of hers you know-
I started walking home across the Bridge •••
*
Blithe Yankee vanities, turreted sprites, winged
British repartees, skil·
ful savage sea-girls
that bloomed in the spring - Heave, weave
those bright designs the trade winds drive •••
Sweet opium and tea, Yo-hoI
Pennies for porpoises tkat batik the keel!
Fins whip tM breeze aro'llJ&(/, Japan/
29
THE BRIDGE
Bright skysails ticketing the Line, wink round the Hom
to Frisco, Melbourne .••
Pennants, parabolas-
clipper dreams indelible and ranging,
baronial white on lucky blue!
Perennial-Cutty-trophied-Sark!
Thermopylre, Black Prince, Flying Cloud through Sunda
- scarfed of foam, their bellies veered green esplanades,
locked in wind-humors, ran their eastings down;
ot lava Head freshened the nip
(sweet opium and tea!)
and turned and left us on the lee •••
Buntlines tusseling (91 days, 20 hours and anchored!)
Rainbow, Leander
(last trip a tragedy)- where can you be
Nimbus? and you rivals two -
a long tack keeping -
30
Taeping?
Ariel?
IV
CAPE HATTERAS
The seas all crossed,
wetSthered the capes, the 1Jqyage done •••
-WALT WHITMAl'f
I 1\:1 P 0 N D ERA B LEthe dinosaur
sinks slow,
the mammoth saurian
ghoul, the eastem
Cape ••
While rises in the west the coastwise range,
slowly the hushed land-
Combustion at the astral core - the dorsal change
Of energy - convulsive shift of sand •••
But we, who round the capes, the promontories
Where strange tongues vary messages of surf
Below grey citadels, repeating to the stars
The ancient names - return home to our own
Hearths, there to eat an apple and recall
The songs that gypsies dealt us at Marseille
Or how the priests walked - slowly through Bombay-
Or to read you, Walt,- knowing us in thrall
To that deep wonderment, our native clay
Whose depth of red, eternal flesh of Pooahontus-
Those continental folded zona, surcharged
With sweetness below derricks, chimneys, tunnels-
31
THE BRIDGE
Is veined by all that time has really pledged us •••
And from above, thin squeaks of radio static,
The captured fume of space foams in our ears -
What whisperings of far watches on the main
Relapsing into silence, while time clears
Our lenses, lifts a focus, resurrects
A periscope to glimpse what joys or pain
Our eyes can share or answer - then deflects
Us, shunting to a labyrinth submersed
Where each sees only his dim past reversed •••
But that star-glistered salver of infinity,
The circle, blind crucible of endless space,
Is sluiced by motion,- subjugated never.
Adam and Adam's answer in the forest
Left Hesperus mirrored in the lucid pool.
Now the eagle dominates our days, is jurist
Of the ambiguous cloud. We know the strident rule
Of wings imperious ••• Space, instantaneous,
Flickers a moment, consumes us in its smile:
A flash over the horizon - shifting gears-
And we have laughter, or more sudden tears.
Dream cancels dream in this new realm of fact
From which we wake into the dream of act;
Seeing himself an atom in a shroud -
Man hears himself an engine in a cloud!
"-Recorders ages hence"- ah, syllables of faithl
Walt, tell me, Walt Whitman, if infinity
Be still the same as when you walked the beach
32
THE BRIDGE
Near Paumanok - your lone patrol - and heard the
wraith
Through surf, its bird note there a long time falling •••
For you, the panoramas and this breed of towers,
Of you - the theme that's statured in the cliff.
o Saunterer on free ways still ahead!
Not this our empire yet, but labyrinth
Wherein your eyes, like the Great Navigator's without ship,
Gleam from the great stones of each prison crypt
Of canyoned traffic •.• Confronting the Exchange,
Surviving in a world of stocks,- they also range
Across the hills where second timber strays
Back over Connecticut farms, abandoned pastures,-
Sea eyes and tidal, undenying, bright with myth!
The nasal whine of power whips a new universe •••
Where spouting pillars spoor the evening sky,
Under the looming stacks of the gigantic power house
Stars prick the eyes with sharp ammoniac proverbs,
New verities, new jnkHngs in the velvet hummed
Of dynamos, where hearing's leash is strummed. ••
Power's script,- wound, bobbin-bound, refined-
Is stropped to the slap of belts on booming spools, spurred:
Into the bulging bouillon, harnessed jelly of the stars.
Towards what? The forked crash of split thunder parts
Our hearing momentwise; but fast in whirling armatures,
As bright as frogs' eyes, giggling in the girth
Of steely gizzards - axle-bound, confined
In coiled precision, bunched in mutual glee
33
THE BRIDGE
The hearings gIint,- 0 murmurless and shined
In oilrinsed circles of hlind ecstasy!
Stars scribhle on our eyes the frosty sagas,
The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space .•.
o sinewy silver biplane, nudging the wind's withers!
There, from Kill Devils Hill at Kitty Hawk
Two brothers in their twinship left the dune;
Warping the gale, the Wright windwrestlers veered
Capeward, then blading the wind's flank, banked and spun
What ciphers risen from prophetic script,
What marathons new-set between the stars!
The soul, by naphtha fledged into new reaches,
Already knows the closer clasp of Mars,-
New latitudes, unknotting, soon give place
To what fierce schedules, rife of doom apace!
Behold the dragon's covey - amphibian, ubiquitous
To hedge the seaboard, wrap the headland, ride
The blue's cloud-templed districts unto ether •••
While Iliads glimmer through eyes raised in pride
Hell's belt springs wider into heaven's plumed side.
o bright circumferences, heights employed to fly
War's fiery kennel masked in downy offings,-
This tournament of space, the threshed and chiselled heigbt,
Is baited by marauding circles, bludgeon flail
Of rancorous grenades whose screaming petals carve us
Wounds that we wrap with theorems sharp as hail!
Wheeled swiftly, wings emerge from larval-silver hangars.
Taut motors surge, space-gnawing, into flight;
34
THE BRIDGE
Through sparkling visibility, outspread, unsleeping,
Wings clip the last peripheries of light .•.
Tellurian wind-sleuths on dawn patrol,
Each plane a hurtling javelin of winged ordnance,
Bristle the heights above a screeching gale to hover;
Surely no eye that Sunward Escadrille can cover!
There, meaningful, fledged as the Pleiades
With razor sheen they zoom each rapid helix!
Up-chartered choristers of their own speeding
They, cavalcade on escapade, shear Cumulus -
Lay siege and hurdle Cirrus down the skiesI
While Cetus-like, 0 thou Dirigible, enormous Lounger
Of pendulous auroral beaches,- satellited wide
By convoy planes, moonferrets that rejoin thee
On fleeing balconies as thou dost glide,
- Hast splintered space!
Low, shadowed of the Cape,
Regard the moving turrets! From grey decks
See scouting griffons rise through gaseous crepe
Hung low ••• until a conch of thunder answers
Cloud-belfries, banging, while searchlights, like fencers,
Slit the sky's pancreas of foaming anthracite
Toward thee, 0 Corsair of the typhoon,- pilot, hear!
Thine eyes bicarhonated white by speed, 0 Skygak, see
How from thy path above the levin's lance
Thou sowest doom thou hast nor time nor chance
To reckon - as thy stilly eyes partake
What alcohol of space. •• ! Remember, Falcon-Ace,
Thou hast there in thy wrist a Sanskrit charge
85
THE BRIDGE
To conjugate infinity's dim marge-
Anew ••• !
But first, here at this height receive
The benediction of the shell's deep, sure reprieve!
Lead-perforated fuselage, escutcheoned wings
Lift agonized quittance, tilting from the invisible hrink
Now eagle-bright, now
quarry-hid, twist-
Enormous repercussive list-
-ings down
Giddily spiralled
-ing, sink with
gauntlets, upturned, unlooping
In guerrilla sleights, trapped in combustion gyr-
lng, dance the curdled depth
down whizzing
Zodiacs, dashed
(now nearing fast the Cape!)
down gravitation's
vortex into crashed
••• dispersion .•. into mashed and shapeless debris ..••
By Hatteras bunched the beached heap of high bravery!
*
The stars have grooved our eyes with old persuasions
Of love and hatred, hirth,- surcease of nations .••
But who has held the heights more sure than thou,
o Walt!- Ascensions of thee hover in me now
36
THE BRIDGE
As thou at junctions elegiac, there, of speed
With vast eternity, dost wield the rebound seed!
The competent loam, the probable grass,- travail
Of tides awash the pedestal of Everest, fail
Not less than thou in pure impulse inbred
To answer deepest soundings! 0, upward from the dead
Thou bringest tally, and a pact, new bound,
Of living hrotherhood!
Thou, there heyond-
Glacial sierras and the flight of ravens,
Hermetically past condor zones, through zenith havens
Past where the albatross has offered up
His last wing-pulse, and downcast as a cup
That's drained, is shivered hack to earth - thy wand
Has heat a song, 0 Walt,- there and beyond!
And this, thine other hand, upon my heart
Is plummet ushered of those tears that start
What memories of vigils, hloody, by that Cape,-
Ghoul-mound of man's perversity at balk:
And fraternal massacre! Thou, pallid there as chalk,
Hast kept of wounds, 0 Mourner, all that sum.
That then from Appomattox stretched to Somme!
Cowslip and shad-blow, flaked like tethered foam
Around bared teeth of stallions, hloomed that spring
When first I read thy lines, rife as the loam
Of prairies, yet like breakers cliffward leaping!
0, early following thee, I searched the hill
roue-writ and odor·fum with violets, 'til
37
THE BRIDGE
With June the mountain laurel broke through green
And filled the forest with what clustrous sheen!
Potomac lilies,- then the Pontiac rose,
And Klondike edelweiss of occult snows!
White banks of moonlight came descending valleys -
How speechful on oak-vizored palisades,
As vibrantly I following down Sequoia alleys
Heard thunder's eloquence through green arcades
Set trumpets breathing in each clump and grass tuft -'til
Gold autumn, captured, crowned the trembling hill!
Panis Angelicus! Eyes tranquil with the blaze
Of love's own diametric gaze, of love's amaze!
Not greatest, thou,- not first, nor last,- but near
And onward yielding past my utmost year.
Familiar, thou, as mendicants in public places;
Evasive - too - as dayspring's spreading arc to trace
is:-
Our Meistersinger, thou set hreath in steel;
And it was thou who on the boldest heel
Stood up and flung the span on even wing
Of that great Bridge, our Myth, whereof I sing!
Years of the Modem! Propulsions toward what capes?
But thou, Panis Angelicus, hast thou not seen
And passed that Barrier that none escapes-
But knows it leastwise as death-strife?- 0, something
green,
Beyond all sesames of science was thy choice
Wherewith to bind us throbbing with one voice,
38
THE BRIDGE
New integers of Roman, Viking, Celt-
Thou, Vedic Caesar, to the greensward knelt!
And now, as launched in abysmal cupolas of space,
Toward endless terminals, Easters of speeding light-
Vast engines outward veering with seraphic grace
On clarion cylinders pass out of sight
To course that span of consciousness thou'st named
The Open Road - thy vision is reclaimed!
What heritage thou'st signalled to our hands!
And see! the rainbow's arch - how sbimmeringly standi
Above the Cape's ghoul-mound, 0 joyous seer!
Recorders ages hence, yes, they shall hear
In their own veins uncancelled thy sure tread
And read thee by the aureole 'round thy head
Of pasture-shine, Parris Angelicus!
Yes, Walt,
Moot again, and onward without halt,-
Not soon, nor suddenly,- No, never to let go
Myhand
in yours,
Walt Whitman-
so-
v
THREE SONGS
The one Sestos, the other Abydos hight.
-MARLOWE
SOUTHERN CROSS
I WAN TED you, nameless Woman of the South,
No wraith, but utterly - as still more alone
The Southern Cross takes night
And lifts her girdles from her, one by one -
High, cool,
wide from the slowly smoldering fire
Of lower heavens,-
vaporous scars!
Eve! Magdalene!
or Mary, you?
Whatever caIl- falls vainly on the wave.
o simian Venus, homeless Eve,
Unwedded, stumbling gardenless to grieve
Windswept guitars on lonely decks forever;
Finally to answer all within one grave!
And this long wake of phosphor,
iridescent
Furrow of all our travel- trailed derision!
40
THE BRIDGE
Eyes crumble at its kiss. Its long-drawn spell
Incites a yell. Slid on that backward vision
The mind is churned to spittle, whispering hell.
I wanted you ••• The embers of the Cross
Climbed by aslant and huddling aromatically.
It is blood to remember; it is fire
To stammer back ••• It is
God - your namelessness. And the wash-
All night the water combed you with black
Insolence. You crept out simmering, accomplished.
Water rattled that stinging coil, your
Rehearsed hair - docile, alas, from many arms.
Yes, Eve - wraith of my unloved seed!
The Cross, a phantom, huckled - dropped below the dawn..
Light drowned the lithic trillions of your spawn.
41
THE BRIDGE
NATIONAL WINTER GARDEN
Ou T S P 0 KEN buttocks in pink beads
Invite the necessary cloudy clinch
Of bandy eyes •••• No extra mufflings here:
The world's one flagrant, sweating cinch.
And while legs waken salads in the brain
You pick your blonde out neatly through the smoke.
Always you wait for someone else though, always-
(Then rush the nearest exit through the smoke).
Always and last, before the final ring
When all the fireworks blare, begins
A tom-tom scrimmage with a somewhere violin,
Some cheapest echo of them all-begins.
And shall we call her whiter than the snow?
Sprayed:first with ruby, then with emerald sheen-
Least tearful and least glad (who knows her smile?)
A caught slide shows her sandstone grey between.
Her eyes exist in swivellings of her teats,
Pearls whip her hips, a drench of whirling strands.
Her silly snake rings begin to mount, surmount
Each other - turquoise fakes on tinselled hands.
We wait that writhing pool, her pearls collapsed,
- All but her belly buried in the floor;
42
THE BRIDGE
And the lewd trounce of a final muted heat!
We flee her spasm through a. fleshless door ••••
Yet, to the empty trapeze of your Hesh,
o Magdalene, each comes hack to die alone.
Then you, the hurlesque of our lust - and faith,
Lug us hack lifeward - hone hy infant hone.
THE BRIDCE
VIRGINIA
o RAIN at seven,
Pay-check at eleven -
Keep smiling the boss away,
Mary (what are you going to do?)
Gone seven - gone eleven,
And I'm still waiting you -
o blue-eyed Mary with the claret scarf,
Saturday Mary, mine!
It's high carillon
From the popcorn bells!
Pigeons by the million -
And Spring in Prince Street
Where green figs gleam
By oyster shells!
o Mary, leaning from the high wheat tower,
Let down your golden hair!
High in the noon of May
On cornices of daffodils
The slender violets stray.
Crap-shooting gangs in Bleecker reign,
Peonies with pony manes -
Forget-me-nots at windowpanes:
Out of the way-up nickel-dime tower shine,
Cathedral Mary,
shine!-
44
VI
QUAKER HILL
I Bee orrly the ideal. But no
itleols have ever been fuJl., sue-
cess/ul on tAu efITth.
-ISADORA DUNCAN
The gentian weaves her fringes,
The mapltls loom is red..
-BUlLY DICKINSON
PERSPECTIVE never withers from their eyes;
They keep that docile edict of the Spring
That blends March with August Antarctic skies:
These are but cows that see no other thing
Than grass and snow, and their own inner being
Through the rich halo that they do not trouble
Even to cast upon the seasons fleeting
Though they should thin and die on last year"s stubble.
And they are awkward, ponderous and unooy .••
While we who press the cider mill, regarding them-
We, who with pledges taste the bright annoy
Of friendship's acid wine, retarding phlegm,
Shifting reprisals ('til who shall tell us when
The jest is too sharp to he kindly?) boast
Much of our store of faith in other men
Who would, ourselves, stalk down the merriest ghost.
45
THE BRIDGE
Above them old Mizzentop, palatial white
Hostelry - floor by floor to cinquefoil dormer
Portholes the ceilings stack their stoic height.
Long tiers of windows staring out toward former
Faces -loose panes crown the hill and gleam
At sunset with a silent, cobwebbed patience •.•
See them, like eyes that still uphold some dream
Through mapled vistas, cancelled reservations!
High from the central cupola, they say
One's glance could cross the borders of three states;
But I have seen death's stare in slow survey
From four horizons that no one relates •••
Weekenders avid of their turf-won scores,
Here three hours from the semaphores, the Czars
Of golf, by twos and threes in plaid plusfours
Alight with sticks ahristle and cigars.
This was the Promised Land, and still it is
'To the persuasive suburban land agent
In bootleg roadhouses where the gin fizz
Bubbles in time to Hollywood's new love-nest pageant
Fresh from the radio in the old Meeting House
(Now the New Avaion Hotel) volcanoes roar
A welcome to highsteppers that no mouse
Who saw the Friends there ever heard before.
What cunning neighbors history has in :fine!
The woodlouse mortgages the ancient deal
Table that Powitzky buys for only nine-
46
THE BRIDGE
Ty-:fi.ve at Adams' auction,- eats the seal,
The spinster polish of antiquity •••
Who holds the lease on time and on disgrace?
What eats the pattern with ubiquity?
Where are my kinsmen and the patriarch race?
The resigned factions of the dead preside.
Dead rangers bled their comfort on the snow;
But I must ask slain Iroquois to guide
Me farther than scalped Yankees knew to go:
Shoulder the curse of sundered parentage,
Wait for the postman driving from Birch Hill
With birthright by blackmail, the arrant page
That unfolds a new destiny to fill ....
So, must we from the hawk's far stemming view,
Must we descend as worm's eye to construe
Our love of all we touch, and take it to the Gate
.k, humbly as a guest who knows himself too late,
His news already told? Yes, while the heart is wrong,
Arise - yes, take this sheaf of dust upon your tongue!
In one last angelus lift throbbing throat-
Listen, transmuting silence with that stilly note
Of pain that Emily, that Isadora knew!
While high from dim elmooehancels hung with dew,
That triple-noted clause of moonlight-
Yes, whip-poor-will, unhusks the heart of fright,
Breaks us and saves, yes, breaks the heart, yet yields
That patience that is annour and that shields
47
THE BRIDGE
Love from despair - when love foresees the end-
Leaf after autumnal leaf
break off,
48
descend-
descend-
VII
.
THE TUNNEL
To F,nd the ". estern path
Right thril the Gates of 11' Talk.
-BLA.B:E
PER FOR MAN C E S, assortments, resumes-
Up Times Square to Columbus Circle lights
Channel the congresses, nightly sessions,
Refractions of the thousand theatres, faces-
Mysterious kitchens •••• You shall search them all.
Some day by heart you'll learn each famous sight
And watch the curtain lift in hell's despite;
You'll find the garden in the third act dead,
Finger your knees - and wish yourself in bed
With tabloid crime--sheets perched in easy sight.
Then let you reach your hat
and go.
As usua4 let you - also
walking down - exclaim.
to twelve upward leaving
a subscription praise
for what time slays.
Or can't you quite make up your mind to ride;
A walk is better underneath the L a brisk
Ten blocks or so before? But you find yourself
49
THE BRIDGE
Preparing penguin flexions of the arms,-
As usual you will meet the scuttle yawn:
The subway yawns the quickest promise home.
Be minimum, then, to swim the hiving swarms
Out of the Square, the Circle burning bright -
Avoid the glass doors gyring at your right,
Where boxed alone a second, eyes take fright
- Quite unprepared nIsh naked back to light:
And down beside the turnstile press the coin
Into the slot. The gongs already rattle.
And so
of cities you bespeak
subways, rivered under streets
and rivers •••• In the car
the overtone of motion
underground, the monotone
of motion is the sound
of other faces, also underground-
"Let's have a pencil Jimmy -living now
at Floral Park
FIatbush - on the Fourth of July-
like a pigeon's muddy dream - potatoes
to dig in the field - travlin the town - too-
night after night - the Culver line - the
girls all shaping up - it used to be-"
Our tongues recant like beaten weather vanes.
This answer lives like verdigris, like hair
50
THE BRIDGE
Beyond extinction, surcease of the bone;
And repetition freezes -"What
''what do you want? getting weak on the links?
fandaddle daddy don't ask for change - IS THIS
FOURTEENTH? it's half past six she said - if
you don't like my gate why did you
swing on it, why didja
swing on it
anyhow-"
And somehow anyhow swing-
The phonographs of hades in the brain
Are tunnels that re-wind themselves, and love
A burnt match skating in a urinal-
Somewhere above Fourteenth TAKE THE EXPRESS
To brush some new presentiment of pain -
"But I want service in this office SERVICE
I said - after
the show she cried a little afterwards but-"
Wliose head is swingio.g from the swollen. strap?
Whose body smokes along the hitten rails,
Bursts from a smoldering bundle far behind
In back forks of the chasms of the brain,-
Puffs from a riven stump far out behind
In interborough fissures of the mind ••• ?
51
THE BRIDGE
And why do I often meet your visage here,
Your eyes like agate lanterns - on and on
Below the toothpaste and the dandruff ads?
- And did their riding eyes right through your side,
And did their eyes like unwashed platters ride?
And Death, aloft,- gigantically down
Probing through you - toward me, 0 evermore!
And when they dragged your retching flesh,
Your trembling hands that night through Baltimore-
That last night on the ballot rounds, did you
Shaking, did you deny the ticket, Poe?
For Gravesend Manor change at Chambers Street.
The platform hurries along to a dead stop.
The intent escalator lifts a serenade
Stilly
Of shoes, umbrellas, each eye attending its shoe, then
Bolting outright somewhere above where streets
Burst suddenly in rain •••• The gongs recur:
Elbows and levers, guard and hissing door.
Thunder is galvothermic here below •••. The car
Wheels off. The train rounds, bending to a scream,
Taking the final level for the dive
Under the river-
And somewhat emptier than before,
Demented, for a hitching second, humps; then
Lets go •.•• Toward comers of the floor
Newspapers wing, revolve and wing.
Blank windows gargle signals through the roar.
52
THE BRIDGE
And does the Dremon take you home, also,
Wop washerwoman, with the bandaged hair?
Mter the corridors are swept, the cuspidors -
The gaunt sky-barracks cleanly now, and bare,
o Genoese, do you bring mother eyes and hands
Back home to children and to golden hair?
Dremon, demurring and eventful yawn!
Whose hideous laughter is a bellows mirth
- Or the mufBed slaughter of a day in birth-
o cruelly to inoculate the brinking dawn
With anteIlIlre toward worlds that glow and sink;-
To spoon us out more liquid than the dim.
Locution of the eldest star, and pack
The conscience navelled in the plunging wind,
Umbilical to call-and straightway die!
o caught like pennies beneath soot and steam,
Kiss of our agony thou gatherest;
Condensed, thou takest all- shrill ganglia
Impassioned with some song we fail to keep.
And yet, like Lazarus, to feel the slope,
The sod and billow breaking,-lifting ground,
- A sound of waters bending astride the sky
Unceasing with some Word that will not die ••• !
*
A tugboat, wheezing wreaths of steam,
Lunged past, with one galvanic blare stove up the River.
1 counted the echoes assembling, one after one,
53
THE BRIDGE
Searching, thumbing the midnight on the piers.
Lights, coasting, left the oily tympanum of waters;
The blackness somewhere gouged glass on a sky.
And this thy harbor, 0 my City, I have driven under,
Tossed from the coil of ticking towers •••• Tomorrow,
And to be ..•• Here hy the River that is East-
Here at the waters' edge the hands drop memory;
Shadowless in that abyss they unaccounting lie.
How far away the star has pooled the sea-
Or shall the hands he drawn away, to die?
Kiss of our agony Thou gatherest,
o Hand of Fire
gatherest-
54
VIII
ATLANTIS
Music is then the knowledge of t1ua willieh
relates to love in Mnrumr and srstem.
-PLATO
T H R 0 UGH the bottnd cable strands, the arching path
Upward, veering with light, the Hight of strings,-
Taut miles of shuttling moonlight syncopate
The whispered rush, telepathy of wires.
Up the index of night, granite and steel-
Transparent meshes - Heckless the gleaming staves-
Sibylline voices Hicker, waveringly stream
As though a god were issue of the strings .•••
And through that cordage, threading with its call
One arc synoptic of all tides below-
Their labyrinthine mouths of history
Pouring reply as though all ships at sea
Complighted in one vibrant breath made cry,-
"Make thy love sure-to weave whose song we plyl"
- From black. embankments, moveless soundings hailed,
So seven oceans answer from their dream.
And on, obliquely up bright carrier bars
New octaves trestle the twin monoliths
Beyond whose frosted capes the moon bequeaths
55
THE BRIDGE
Two worlds of sleep (0 arching strands of song!)-
Onward and up the crystal-Hooded aisle
White tempest nets file upward, upward ring
With silver terraces the humming spars,
The loft of vision, palladium helm of stars.
Sheerly the eyes, like seagulls stung with rime-
Slit and propelled by glistening fins of light-
Pick hiting way up towering looms that press
Sidelong with Hight of hlade on tendon blade
- Tomorrows into yesteryear - and link
What cipher-script of time no traveller reads
But who, through smoking pyres of love and death,
Searches the timeless laugh of mythic spears.
Like hails, farewells -up planet-sequined heights
Some trillion whispering hammers glimmer Tyre:
Serenely, sharply up the long anvil cry
Of inchling reons silence rivets Troy.
And you, aloft there - Jason! hesting Shout!
Still wrapping harness to the swarming air!
Silvery the rushing wake, surpassing call,
Beams yelling lEolus! splintered in the straits!
From gulfs unfolding, terrible of drums,
Tall Vision-of-the-Voyage, tensely spare-
Bridge, lifting night to cycloramic crest
Of deepest day- 0 Choir, translating time
Into what multitudinous Verb the suns
And synergy of waters ever fuse, recast
56
THE BRIDGE
In myriad syllables,- Psalm of Cathay!
o Love, thy white, pervasive Paradigm ••• !
We left the haven hanging in the night-
Sheened harbor lanterns backward fled the keel.
Pacific here at time's end, hearing com,-
Eyes stammer through the pangs of dust and steel
And still the circular, indubitable frieze
Of heaven's meditation, yoking wave
To kneeling wave, one song devoutly binds -
The vernal strophe chimes from deathless stringsl
o Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits
The agile precincts of the lark's retum.;
Within whose lariat sweep encinctured sing
In single chrysalis the many twain,-
Of stars Thou art the stitch and stallion glow
And like an organ, Thou, with sound of doom-
Sight, sound and flesh Thou leadest from time's realm
As love strikes clear direction for the helm.
Swift peal of secular light, intrinsic Myth
Whose fell unshadow is death's utter wound,-
o River-throated - iridescently upborne
Through the bright drench and fabric of our veins;
With white escarpments swinging into light,
Sustained in tears the cities are endowed
And justified conclamant with ripe fields
Revolving through their harvests in sweet tannent.
Forever Deity's glittering Pledge, 0 Thou
57
THE BRIDGE
Whose canticle fresh chemistry assigns
To rapt inception and beatitude,-
Always through blinding cables, to our joy,
Of thy white seizure springs the prophecy:
Always through spiring cordage, pyramids
Of silver sequel, Deity's young name
Kinetic of white choiring wings ••• ascends.
Migrations that must needs void memory,
Inventions that cobblestone the heart,-
Unspeakable Thou Bridge to Thee, 0 Love.
Thy pardon for this history, whitest Flower,
o Answerer of all,- Anemone,-
Now while thy petals spend the suns about us, hold -
(0 Thou whose radiance doth inherit me)
Atlantis,- hold thy floating singer late!
So to thine Everpresence, beyond time,
Like spears ensanguined of one tolling star
That bleeds infinity - the orphic strings,
Sidereal phalanxes, leap and converge:
- One Song, one Bridge of Fire! Is it Cathay,
Now pity steeps the grass and rainbows ring
The serpent with the eagle in the leaves •.. ?
Whispers antiphonal in azure swing.
58

l
1
f .. ~ ; ~ •
. .
\- .. '" ,- I.r·.,..·' ....... · ,,-," . ' ~ . ' ' ' ... '."", .
" ,
, ' ~ ¥ ••••• c., , . \ . ~
TWO· WHITE BUILDINGS
Ce ne peut etre que la fin. au l1umae, en
avangan.t.
-RIMBAUD
TO WALDO FRANK
LEGEND
A s silent as a mirror is believed
Realities plunge in silence by ...
I am not ready for repentance;
Nor to match regrets. For the moth
Bends no more than the still
Imploring flame. And tremorous
In the white falling flakes
Kisses are,-
The only worth all granting.
It is to be learned -
This cleaving and this burning,
But only by the one who
Spends out himself again.
Twice and twice
(Again the smoking souvenir,
Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again.
Until the bright logic is won
Unwhispering as a mirror
Is believed.
61
WHITE BUILDINGS
Then, drop hy caustic drop, a perfect cry
Shall string some constant harmony,-
Relentless caper for all those who step
The legend of their youth into the noon.
BLACK TAMBOURINE
THE interests of a black man in a cellar
Mark tardy judgment on the world's closed door.
Gnats toss in the shadow of a bottle,
And a roach spans a crevice in the floor.
]Esop, driven to pondering, found
Heaven with the tortoise and the hare;
Fox brush and sow ear top his grave
And mingling incantations on the air.
The black man, forlorn in the cellar,
Wanders in some mid·kingdom, dark, that lies,
Between his tambourine, stuck on the wall,
And, in Mrica, a carcass quick with flies.
EMBLEMS OF CONDUCT
By a peninsula the wanderer sat and sketched
The uneven valley graves. While the apostle gave
Alms to the meek the volcano burst
With sulphur and aureate rocks •••
For joy rides in stupendous coverings
Luring the living into spiritual gates.
Orators follow the universe
And radio the complete laws to the people.
The apostle conveys thought through discipline.
Bowls and cups fill historians with adorations,-
Dull lips commemorating spiritual gates.
The wanderer later chose this spot of rest
Where marble clouds support the sea
And where was finally borne a chosen hero.
By that time summer and smoke were past.
Dolphins still played, arching the horizons,
But only to build memories of spiritual gates.
MY GRANDMOTHER'S
LOVE LETTERS
THE R E are no stars to-night
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.
There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother's mother,
Elizabeth,
That have been pressed so long
Into a comer of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.
Over the greatness of such space
Steps must be gentle.
It is all hung by an invisible white hair.
It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air.
And I ask myself:
"Ate your fingers long enough to play
Old keys that are but echoes:
65
WHITE BUILDINGS
Is the silence strong enough
To carry hack the music to its source
And hack to you again
As though to her?"
Yet I would lead my grandmother hy the hand
Through much of what she would not understand;
And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof
With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.
SUNDAY MORNING APPLES
TO WILLIAM SOMMER
THE leaves will fall again sometime and fill
The fleece of nature with those purposes
That are your rich and faithful strength of line.
But now there are challenges to spring
In that ripe nude with head
reared
Into a realm of swords, her purple shadow
Bursting on the winter of the world
From whiteness that cries defiance to the snow.
A hoy runs with a dog before the sun, straddling
Spontaneities that form their independent orbits,
Their own perennials of light
In the valley where you live
(called Brandywine).
I have seen the apples there that toss you secrets,-
Beloved apples of seasonable madness
That feed your inquiries with aerial wine.
Put them again beside a pitcher with a knife,
And poise them full and ready for explosion-
~ e apples, Bill, the apples!
61
PRAISE FOR AN URN
IN MEMORIAM: ERNEST NELSON
J T was a kind and northern face
That mingled in such exile guise
The everlasting eyes of Pierrot
And, of Gargantua, the laughter.
His thoughts, delivered to me
From the white coverlet and pillow,
I see now, were inheritances-
Delicate riders of the storm.
The slant moon on the slanting hill
Once moved us toward presentiments
Of what the dead keep, living still,
And such assessments of the soul
As, perched in the crematory lobby,
The insistent clock commented on,
Touching as well upon our praise
Of glories proper to the time.
Still, having in mind gold hair,
I cannot see that broken brow
68
WHITE BUILDINGS
And miss the dry sound of bees
Stretching across a lucid space.
Scatter these well-meant idioms
Into the smoky spring that fills
The suburbs, where they will be lost.
They are no trophies of the sun.
GARDEN ABSTRACT
THE apple on its hough is her desire,-
Shining suspension, mimic of the sun.
The bough has caught her breath up, and her voice,
Dumbly articulate in the slant and rise
Of branch on hranch above her, blurs her eyes.
She is prisoner of the tree and its green fingers.
And so she comes to dream herself the tree,
The wind possessing her, weaving her young veins,
Holding her to the sky and its quick hlue,
Drowning the fever of her hands in sunlight.
She has no memory, nor fear, nor hope
Beyond the grass and shadows at her feet.
70
STARK MAJOR
THE lover's death, how regular
With lifting spring and starker
Vestiges of the sun that somehow
Filter in to us before we waken.
Not yet is there that heat and sober
Vivisection of more clamant air
That hands joined in the dark will answer
Mter the daily circuits of its glare.
It is the time of sundering •••
Beneath the green silk counterpane
Her mound of undelivered life
Lies cool upon her - not yet pain.
And she will wake before you pass,
Scarcely aloud, beyond her door,
And every third step down the stair
Until you reach the mufHed floor-
Will laugh and call your name; while you
Still answering her faint
71
WHITE BUILDINGS
Will find the street, only to look
At doors and stone with broken eyes.
Walk now, and note the lover's death.
Henceforth her memory is more
Than yours, in cries, in ecstasies
You cannot ever reach to share.
72
CHAPLINESQUE
WE make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.
For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm tom elbow coverts.
We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward uSt
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!
And yet these fine collapses are not lies
More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;
Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.
We can evade you, and all else but the heart:
What blame to us if the heart live on.
WHITE BUILDINGS
The game enforces smirks; hut we have seen
The moon in lonely alleys make
A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,
And through all sound of gaiety and quest
Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.
74
PASTORALE
N 0 more violets,
And the year
Broken into smoky panels.
What woods remember now
Her calls, her enthusiasms?
That ritual of sap and leaves
The sun drew out,
Ends in this latter mufHed
Bronze and hrass. The wind
Takes rein.
If, dusty, I hear
An image beyond this
Already fallen harvest,
I can only query, "Fool-
Have you remembered too long;
Or was there too little said
For ease or resolution -
Summer scarcely begun
And violets,
A few picked, the rest dead?"
75
IN SHADOW
OUT in the late amber afternoon,
Confused among chrysanthemums,
Her parasol, a pale halloon,
Like a waiting moon, in shadow swims.
Her furtive lace and misty hair
Over the garden dial distill
The sunlight,- then withdrawing, wear
Again the shadows at her will.
Gently yet suddenly, the sheen
Of stars inwraps her parasol.
She hears my step hehind the green
Twilight, stiller than shadows, fall.
"Come, it is too late,- too late
To risk alone the light's decline:
Nor has the evening long to wait,"-
But her own words are night's and mine.
76
THE FERNERY
THE lights that travel on her spectacles
Seldom,
now, meet a mirror in her eyes.
But turning, as you may chance to lift a shade
Beside her and her fernery, is to follow
The zigzags fast around dry lips composed
To darkness through a wreath of sudden pain.
-
So, while fresh sunlight splinters humid green
I have known myself a nephew to confusions
That sometimes take up residence and reign
In crowns less grey - 0 merciless tidy hair!
NORTH LABRADOR
A LA N D of leaning ice
Hugged by plaster-grey arches of sky,
Flings itself silently
Into eternity.
"Has no one come here to win you,
Or left you with the faintest blush
Upon your glittering breasts?
Have you no memories, 0 Darkly Bright?"
Cold-hushed, there is only the shifting of moments
That journey toward no Spring-
No birth, no death, no time nor sun
In answer.
78
REPOSE OF RIVERS
THE willows carried a slow sound,
A sarabande the wind mowed on the mead.
I could never remember
That seething, steady leveling of the marshes
Till age had brought me to the sea.
Flags, weeds. And remembrance of steep alcoves
Where cypresses shared the noon's
Tyranny; they drew me into hades almost.
And mammoth turtles climbing sulphur dreams
Yielded, while sun-silt rippled them
Asunder .••
How much I would have hartered! the hlack gorge
And all the singular nestings in the hills
Where heavers learn stitch and tooth.
The pond I entered once and quickly fled-
I remember now its singing willow rim.
And finally, in that memory all things nurse;
Mter the city that I finally passed
With scalding unguents spread and smoking darts .
79
WHITE BUILDINGS
The monsoon cut across the delta
At gulf gates ••• There, beyond the dyke'3
I heard wind flaking sapphire, like this summer,
And willows could not hold more steady sound.
80
PARAPHRASE
OF a steady winking beat between
Systole, diastole spokes-of-a-wheel
One rushing from the bed at night
May find the record wedged in his souI.
Above the feet the clever sheets
Lie guard upon the integers of life:
For what skims in hetween uncurls the toe,
Involves the hands in purposeless repose.
But from its hracket how can the tongue tell
When systematic morn shall sometime Hood
The pillow - how desperate is the light
That shall not rouse, how faint the crow's cavil
As, when stunned in that antarctic hlaze,
Your head, unrocking to a pulse, already
Hollowed by air, posts a white paraphrase
Among hruised roses on the papered wall.
81..
POSSESSIONS
WITNESS now this trust! the rain
That steals softly direction
And the key, ready to hand - sifting
One moment in sacrifice (the direst)
Through a thousand nights the flesh
Assaults outright for bolts that linger
Hidden,- 0 undirected as the sky
That through its black foam has no eyes
For this fixed stone of lust ••.
Accumulate such moments to an hour:
Account the total of this trembling tabulation.
I know the screen, the distant Hying taps
And stabbing medley that sways -
And the mercy, feminine, that stays
As though prepared.
:And I, entering, take up the stone
As quiet as you can make a man •..
In Bleecker Street, still trenchant in a void,
Wounded by apprehensions out of speech,
I hold it up against a disk of light-
82
WHITE BUILDINGS
I, turning, turning on smoked forking spires,
The city's stubborn lives, desires.
Tossed on these horns, who bleeding dies,
Lacks all but piteous admissions to be spilt
Upon
the page whose blind sum finally burns
Record of rage and partial appetites.
The pure possession, the inclusive cloud
Whose heart is fire shall come,- the white wind raze
All but bright stones wherein our smiling plays.
LACHRYMAE CHRISTI
WHITELY, while benzine
Rinsings from the moon
Dissolve all but the windows of the mills
(Inside the sure machinery
Is still
And curdled only where a. sill
Sluices its one unyielding smile)
Immaculate venom binds
The fox's teeth, and swart
Thoms freshen on the year's
First blood. From Hanks unfended,
Twanged red perfidies of spring
Are trillion on the hill.
And the nights opening
Chant pyramids,-
Anoint with innocence,- recall
To music and retrieve what perjuries
Had galvanized the eyes.
While chime
Beneath and all around
Distilling clemencies,- worma'
84
WHITE BUILDINGS
Inaudible whistle, tunneling
Not penitence
But song, as these
Perpetual fountains, vines,-
Thy Nazarene and tinder eyes.
(Let sphinxes from the ripe
Borage of death have cleared my tongue
Once and again; vermin and rod
No longer bind. Some sentient cloud
Of tears flocks through the tendoned loam:
Betrayed stones slowly speak.)
Names peeling from Thine eyes
And their undimming lattices of flame,
Spell out in palm and pain
Compulsion of the year, 0 Nazarene.
Lean long from sable, slender boughs,
Unstanched and luminous. And as the nights
Strike from Thee perfect spheres,
Lift up in lilac-emerald breath the grail
Of earth again-
Thy face
From charred and riven stakes, 0
Dionysus, Thy
Unmangled target smile.
85
PASSAGE
W HER E the cedar leaf divides the sky
I heard the sea.
In sapphire arenas of the hills
I was promised an improved infancy.
Sulking, sanctioning the sun,
My memory I left in a ravine,-
Casual louse that tissues the buckwheat,
Aprons rocks, congregates pears
In moonlit bushels
And wakens alleys with a hidden cough.
Dangerously the summer burned
(I had joined the entrainments of the wind).
The shadows of houlders lengthened my hack:
In the bronze gongs of my cheeks
The rain dried without odour.
"It is not long, it is not long;
See where the red and hlack
Vine-stanchioned valleys -": hut the wind
Died speaking through the ages that you know
And hug, heart of man!
86
WHITE BUILDINGS
So was I turned about and back, much as your smoke
Compiles a too well·known biography.
The evening was a spear in the ravine
That throve through very oak. And had I walked
The dozen particular decimals of time?
Touching an opening laurel, I found
A thief beneath, my stolen book in hand.
"Why are you back here - smiling an iron coffin?"
"To argue with the laurel," I replied:
"Am justified in transience, fleeing
Under the constant wonder of your eyes -."
He closed the book. And from the Ptolemies
Sand troughed us in a glittering abyss.
A serpent swam a vertex to the sun
- On unpaced beaches leaned its tongue and drummed.
What fountains did I hear? what icy speeches?
Memory, committed to the page, had broke.
87
THE WINE MENAGERIE
I N V ARIA B L Y when wine redeems the sight,
Narrowing the mustard scansions of the eyes,
A leopard ranging always in the brow
Asserts a vision in the slumbering gaze.
Then glozening decanters that reflect the street
Wear me in crescents on their bellies. Slow
Applause flows into liquid cynosures:
- I am conscripted to their shadows' glow.
Against the imitation onyx wainscoting
(Painted emulsion of snow, eggs, yam, coal, manure)
Regard the forceps of the smile that takes her.
Percussive sweat is spreading to his hair. Mallets,
Her eyes, unmake an instant of the world •••
What is it in this heap the serpent pries-
Whose skin, facsimile of time, unskeins
Octagon, sapphire transepts round the eyes;
- From whom some whispered carillon assures
Speed to the arrow into feathered skies?
Sharp to the window-pane guile drags a face,
And as the alcove of her jealousy recedes
88
WHITE BUILDINGS
An urchin who has left the snow
Nudges a cannister across the bar
While August meadows somewhere clasp his brow.
Each chamber, transept, coins some squint,
Remorseless line, minting their separate wills-
Poor streaked bodies wreathing up and out,
Unwitting the stigma that each tum repeals:
Between black tusks the roses shine!
New thresholds, new anatomies! Wine talons
Build freedom up about me and distill
This competence - to travel in a tear
Sparkling alone, within another's will.
Until my blood dreams a receptive smile
Wherein new purities are snared; where chimes
Before some:6ame of galUlt repose a shell
Tolled once, perhaps, by every tongue in helL
- Anguished, the wit that cries out of me:
"AIas,- these frozen hillows of your skill!
Invent new dominoes of love and hile •••
Ruddy, the tooth implicit of the world
Has followed you. Though in the end you know
And count some dim inheritance of sand,
How much yet meets the treason of the snow.
"Rise from the dates and crumbs. And walk away,
Stepping over Holofernes' shins-
89
WHITE BUILDINGS
Beyond the wall, whose severed head floats hy
With Baptist 10hn's. Their whispering hegins.
"-And fold your exile on your hack again;
Petrushka's valentine pivots on its pin."
90
RECITATIVE
REGARD the capture here, 0 Janus-faced,
As double as the hands that twist this glass.
Such
eyes at search or rest you cannot see;
Reciting pain or glee, how can you bear!
Twin shadowed halves: the
brealdng second holds
In each the skin alone, and so it is
I crust a plate of vibrant mercury
Borne cleft to you, and brother in the haH.
Inquire this much-exacting fragment smile,
Its drums and darkest blowing leaves ignore,-
Defer though., revocation of the tears
That yield attendance to one crucial sign.
Look steadily - how the wind feasts and spins
The brain's disk shivered against lust. Then watch
While darkness, like an ape's face, falls away,
And gradually white buildings answer day.
Let the same nameless guH beleaguer us -
Alike suspend us from atrocious sums
Built floor by floor on shafts of steel that grant
The plummet heart, like Absalom, no stream.
91
WHITE BUILDINGS
The highest tower,-let her ribs palisade
Wrenched gold of Nineveh;- yet leave the tower.
The bridge swings over salvage, beyond wharves;
A wind abides the ensign of your will •••
In alternating hells have you not heard
All hours clapped dense into a single stride?
Forgive me for an echo of these things,
And let us walk through time with equal pride.
FOR THE MARRIAGE OF FAUSTUS
AND HELEN
"And so we ma:y arrive by Talmud skill
And profane Greek to raise the building up
OJ Helen's house agamst the Ismaelite,
King of Thogarma, and his habergeons
Brimstony, blue and fiery; and the force
Of King Abaddon, and the beast of
Which

David Kimchi, Onkelos,
A.nd A.ben Ezra do interpret Rome,"
-THE ALCHEMIST
I
THE mind has shown itself at times
Too much the haked and labeled dough
Divided hy accepted multitudes.
Across the stacked partitions of the day -
Across the memoranda; hasehall scores,
The stenographic smiles and stock quotations
Smutty wings flash out equivocations.
The mind is hrushed by spartow wings;
Numbers, rebuffed hy asphalt, crowd
The margins of the day, accent the curhs,
Convoying divers dawns on every comer
To druggist, harber and tobacconist,
Until the opacities of evening
Take them away as suddenly to somewhere
Virginal perhaps, less fragmentary, cool.
93
WHITE BUILDINGS
There is the world dimensional for
those untwisted by the love of things
irreconcilable •••
And yet, suppose some evening I forgot
The fare and transfer, yet got by that way
Without recall,-lost yet poised in traffic.
Then I might find your eyes across an aisle,
Still flickering with those prefigurations -
Prodigal, yet uncontested now,
Half-riant before the jerky window frame.
There is some way, I think, to touch
Those hands of yours that count the nights
Stippled with pink and green
And now, before its arteries tum dark,
I would have you meet this bartered hlood.
Imminent in his dream, none hetter knows
The white wafer cheek of love, or offers words
Lightly as moonlight on the eaves meets snow.
Reflective conversion of all things
At your deep blush, when ecstasies thread
The limbs and helly, when rainbows spread
Impinging on the throat and sides •••
Inevitable, the body of the world
Weeps in inventive dust for the hiatus
That winks above it, hluet in your breasts.
The earth may glide diaphanous to death;
But if I lift my arms it is to bend
94
WHITE BUILDINGS
To you who turned away once, Helen, knowing
The press of troubled hands, too alternate
With steel and soil to hold you endlessly.
I meet you, therefore, in that eventual flame
You found in final chains, no captive then-
Beyond their million hrittle, hloodshot eyes;
White, through white cities passed on to assume
That world which comes to each of us alone.
Accept a lone eye riveted to your plane,
Bent axle of devotion along companion ways
That heat, continuous, to hourless days -
One inconspicuous, glowing orh of praise.
95
WHITE BUILDINGS
II
BRAZEN hypnotics glitter here;
Glee shifts from foot to foot,
Magnetic to their tremolo.
This crashing opera houff e,
Blest excursion! this ricochet
From roof to roof-
Know, Olympians, we are breathless
While nigger clilpids scour the stars!
A thousand light shrugs balance us
Through snarling hails of melody.
White shadows slip across the :Boor
Splayed like cards from a loose hand;
Rhythmic ellipses lead into canters
Until somewhere a rooster banters.
Greet naively - yet intrepidly
New soothings, new amazements
That comets introduce at every tum -
And you may fall downstairs with me
With perfect grace and equanimity.
Or, plaintively scud past shores
Where, by strange harmonic laws
All relatives, serene and cool,
Sit rocked in patent armchairs.
96
WHITE BUILDINGS
0, I have known metallic paradises
Where cuckoos clucked to finches
Above the deft catastrophes of drums.
While titters hailed the groans of death
Beneath gyrating awnings I have seen
The incunabula of the divine grotesque.
This music has a reassuring way.
The siren of the springs of guilty song -
Let us take her on the incandescent wax
Striated with nuances, nervosities
That we are heir to: she is still so young,
We cannot frown upon her as she smiles,
Dipping here in this cultivated storm
Among slim skaters of the gardened skies.
WHITE BUILDINGS
In
CAP P E D arbiter of beauty in this street
That narrows darkly into motor dawn,-
You, here beside me, delicate ambassador
Of intricate slain numbers that arise
In whispers, naked of steel;
religious gunman!
Who faithfully, yourself, will fall too soon,
And in other ways than as the wind settles
On the smeen thrifty bridges of the city:
Let us unbind our throats of fear and pity.
We even,
Who drove speediest destruction
In corymbulous formations of mechanics,-
Who hurried the hill breezes, spouting malice
Plangent over meadows, and looked down
On rifts of tom and empty houses
Like old women with teeth unjubilant
That waited faintly, briefly and in vain:
We know, eternal gunman, our flesh remembers
The tensile boughs, the nimble blue plateaus,
The mounted, yielding cities of the air!
That saddled sky that shook down vertical
Repeated play of :fire - no hypogeum
Of wave or rock was good against one hour.
98
WHITE BUILDINGS
We did not ask for that, but have survived,
And will persist to speak again before
All stubble streets that have not curved
To memory., or known the ominous lifted arm
That lowers down the arc of Helen's brow
To saturate with blessing and dismay.
A goose, tobacco and cologne -
Three-winged and gold-shod prophecies of heave
The lavish heart shall always have to leaven
And spread with bells and voices, and atone
The abating shadows of our conscript dust.
Anchises' navel, dripping of the sea,-
The hands Erasmus dipped in gleaming tides,
Gathered the voltage of blown blood and vine;
Delve upward for the new and scattered wine,
o brother-thief of time, that we recall.
Laugh out the meager penance of their days
Who dare not share with us the breath released,
The substance drilled and spent beyond repair
For golden, or the shadow of gold hair.
Distinctly praise the years, whose volatile
Blamed bleeding hands extend and thresh the hei@
The imagination spans heyond despair,
Outpacing bargain, vocable and prayer.
99
AT MELVILLE'S TOMB
OF TEN beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.
And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death's bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.
Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.
Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides ••• High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.
100
VOYAGES
I
ABO V E the fresh ruHles of the surf
Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand.
They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks,
And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed
Gaily digging and scattering.
And in answer to their treble interjections
The sun beats lightning on the waves,
The waves fold thunder on the sand;
And could they hear me I would tell them:
o brilliant kids, frisk with your dog,
Fondle your shells and sticks, bleached
By time and the elements; but there is a line
You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it
Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses
Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.
The bottom of the sea is cruel.
101
WHITE BUILDINGS
II
AND yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,
Samite sheeted and processioned where
Her undinal vast helly moonward hends,
Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;
Take this Sea, whose diapason knells
On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,
The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends
As her demeanors motion well or ill,
All but the pieties of lovers' hands.
And onward, as hells off San Salvador
Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,
In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,-
Adagios of islands, 0 my Prodigal,
Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.
Mark how her tuming shoulders wind the hours,
And hasten while her penniless rich palms
Pass superscription of hent foam and wave,-
Hasten, while they are true,- sleep, death, desire,
Close round one instant in one floating flower.
102
WHITE BUILDINGS
Bind us in time, 0 Seasons ciear, and awe.
o minstrel galleons of Carib fire,
Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal's wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.
103
WHITE BUILDINGS
III
I NFl NIT E consanguinity it bears -
This tendered theme of you that light
Retrieves from sea plains where the sky
Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones;
While ribboned water lanes I wind
Are laved and scattered with no stroke
Wide from your side, whereto this hour
The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.
And so, admitted through black swollen gates
That must arrest all distance otherwise,-
Past whirling pillars and lithe pediments,
Light wrestling there incessantly with light,
Star kissing star through wave on wave unto
Your hody rocking!
and where death, if shed,
Presumes no carnage, but this single change,-
Upon the steep floor flung from dawn to dawn
The silken skilled transmemberment of song;
Permit me voyage, love, into your hands •••
104
WHITE BUILDINGS
IV
WHOSE counted. smile of hours and days, suppose
I know as spectrum of the sea and pledge
Vastly now parting gulf on gulf of wings
Whose circles bridge, I know, (from palms to the severe
Chilled albatross's white immutability)
No stream of greater love advancing now
Than, singing, this mortality alone
Through clay aflow immortally to you.
All fragrance irrefragihly, and claim
Madly meeting logically in this hour
And region that is ours to wreathe again,
Portending eyes and lips and making told
The chancel port and portion of our June-
Shall they not stem and close in our own steps
Bright staves of flowers and quills to-day as I
Must first be lost in fatal tides to tell?
In signature of the incarnate word
The harbor shoulders to resign in mingling
Mutual blood, transpiring as foreknown
And widening noon within your hreast for gathering
AIl bright insinuations that my years have caught
1 0 ~
WHITE BUILDINGS
For islands where must lead inviolably
Blue latitudes and levels of your eyes,-
In this expectant, still exclaim receive
The secret oar and petals of all love.
lO6
WHITE BUILDINGS
v
MET leu L 0 us, past midnight in clear rime,
Infrangible and lonely, smooth as though cast
Together in one merciless white blade-
The bay estuaries fleck the hard sky limits.
- As if too brittle or too clear to touch!
The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed,
Already hang, shred ends from remembered stars.
One frozen trackless smile ••• What words
Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we
Are overtaken. Now no cry, no sword
Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge,
Slow tyranny of moonlight, moonlight loved
And changed ••• "There's
Nothing like this in the world," you say,
Knowing I cannot touch your hand and look
Too, into that godless cleft of sky
Where nothing turns but dead sands flashing.
"-And never to quite understand!" No,
In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed
Nothing so flagless as this piracy.
107
WHITE BUILDINGS
But now
Draw in your head, alone and too tall here.
Your eyes already in the slant of drifting foam;
Your breath sealed by the ghosts I do not know:
Draw in your head and sleep the long way home.
lOB
WHITE BUILDINGS
VI
W HER E icy and bright dungeons lift
Of swimmers their lost morning eyes,
And ocean rivers, churning, shift
Green borders under stranger skies,
Steadily as a shell secretes
Its heating leagues of monotone,
Or as many waters trough the sun's
Red kelson past the cape's wet stone;
o rivers mingling toward the sky
And harbor of the phrenix' hreast -
My eyes pressed black against the prow,
- Thy derelict and hlinded guest
Waiting, afire, what name, unspoke,
I cannot claim: let thy waves rear
More savage than the death of kings,
Some splintered garland for the seer.
Beyona siroccos harvesting
The solstice thunders, crept away,
Like a cliff swinging or a sail
F.lung i n ~ April's inmost day-
~ 0 9
WHITE BUILDINGS
Creation's blithe and petalled word
To the lounged goddess when she rose
Conceding dialogue with eyes
That smile unsearchable repose -
Still fervid covenant, Belle Isle,
- Unfolded floating dais before
Which rainbows twine continual hair-
Belle Isle, white echo of the oar!
The imaged Word, it is, that holds
Hushed willows anchored in its glow.
It is the unhetrayable reply
Whose accent no farewell can know.
110
THREE· KEY WEST
AN ISLAND SHEAF
The starry floor,
The wairy shore,
Is given tlu:e 'til the breoic oj dt:y.
-BLA.KE
KEY WEST
HER E has my salient faith annealed me.
Out of the valley, past the ample crib
To skies impartial, that do not disown me
Nor claim me, either, by Adam's spine - nor rib.
The oar plash, and the meteorite's white arch
Concur with wrist and bicep. In the moon
That now has sunk I strike a single march
To heaven or hades - to an equally frugal noon.
Because these millions reap a dead conclusion
Need I presume the same fruit of my bone
As draws them towards a doubly mocked confusion
Of apish nightmares into steel-strung stone?
0, steel and stone! But gold was, scarcity before.
And here is water, and a little wind •.••
There is no breath of friends and no more shore
Where gold has not been sold and conscience tinned.
11S
o CARIB ISLE!
THE tarantula rattling at the lily's foot
Across the feet of the dead, laid in white sand
Near the coral heach - nor zigzag fiddler crabs
Side-stilting from the path (that shift, suhvert
And anagrammatize your name) - No, nothing here
Below the palsy that one eucalyptus lifts
In wrinkled shadows - mourns.
And yet suppose
I count these nacreous frames of tropic death,
Brutal necklaces of shells around each grave
Squared off so carefully. Then
To the white sand I may speak: a name, fertile
Alheit in a stranger tongue. Tree names, flower names
Deliberate, gainsay death's hrittle crypt. Meanwhile
The wind that knots itself in one great death-
Coils and withdraws. So syllables want hreath.
But where is the Captain of the doubloon isle
Without a turnstile? Who hut catchword crabs
Patrols the dry groins of the underhrush?
What man, or What
114
KEY WEST
Is Commissioner of the mildew throughout the ambushed
senses?
His Carib mathematics web the eyes' baked lenses!
Under the poinciana, of a noon or afternoon
Let :fiery blossoms clot the light, render my ghost
Sieved upward, white and hlack along the air
Until it meets the hlue's comedian host.
Let not the pilgrim see himself again
For slow evisceration hound like those huge terrapin
Each daybreak on the wharf, their hrine-caked eyes;
- Spiked, overturned; such thunder in their strain!
Slagged on the hurricane - I, cast within its ftow,
Congeal hy afternoons here, satin and vacant.
You have given me the shell, Satan,- carbonic amulet
Sere of the sun exploded in the sea.
115
THE MANGO TREE
LET them retum, saying you blush again for the great
Great-grandmother. It's all like Christmas.
When you sprouted Paradise a discard of chewing-
gum took place. Up jug to musical hanging jug just gay
spiders yoked you first,- silking of shadows good under-
drawers for owls.
First-plucked before and since the Flood, old hyp-
notisms wrench the golden boughs. Leaves spatter dawn
from emerald cloud-sprockets. Fat final prophets with lean
bandits crouch: and dusk is close
under your noon,
you sun-heap, whose
ripe apple-lanterns gush history, recondite lightnings,
irised.
o mister Senor
missus Miss
Mademoiselle
with baskets
116
Maggy, come on
ISLAND QUARRY
S QUA R E sheets-they saw the marble into
Flat slabs there at the marble quarry
At the turning of the road around the roots of the mountain
Where the straight road would seem to ply below the stone,
that fierce
Profile of marble spiked with yonder
Palms against the sunset's towering sea, and maybe
Against mankind. It is at times -
In dusk it is at times as though this island lifted, floated
In Indian baths. At Cuban dusk the eyes
Walking the straight road toward thunder-
This dry road silvering toward the shadow of the quarry
- It is at times as though the eyes burned hard and glad
And did not take the goat path quivering to the right,
Wide of the mountain - thence to tears and sleep-
But went on into marble that does not weep.
117
THE MERMEN
And if
Thr banished trunk be found in our dominions-
-KING LEA.R
BUD D HAS and engines serve us undersea;
Though why they hide here, only hell that's sacked
Of every blight and ingenuity-
Can solve.
The Cross alone has flown the wave.
But since the Cross sank, much that's warped and cracked
Has followed in its name, has heaped its grave.
Oh-
Gallows and guillotines to hail the sun
And smoking racks for penance when day's done!
Leave us, you idols of Futurity - alone,
Here where we finger moidores of spent grace
No-
And ponder the bright stains that starred His Throne
- This Cross, agleam still with a human face!
118
THE IDIOT
SHE E R over to the other side,- for see
That hoy straggling under those mimosas, daft
With squint lanterns in his head, and it's lik.ely
Fumbling his sex. That's why those children laughed
In such infernal circles round his door
Once when he shouted, stretched in ghastly shape.
I hurried hy. But hack from the hot shore
Passed him again ••• He was alone, agape;
One hand dealt out a kite string; a tin can
The other tilted, peeled end clapped to eye.
That kite aloft - you should have watched him sean
Its course, though he'd clamped midnight to noon sky!
And since, through these hot barricades of green,
A Dios gracias, grag - Pve heard his song
Above all reason lifting, halt serene-
My trespass vision shrinks to face his wrong.
119
'A NAME F:OlJ, aLI.:
Moo N 1\1 0 T H and grasshopper that flee our page
And still wing on, untarnished of the name
We pinion to your hodies to assuage
Our envy of your freedom - we must maim
Because we are usurpers, and chagrined -
And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
But we must die, as you, to understand.
I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.
120
ROYAL PALM
FOR GRACE HART CRANE
G R E E N rustlings, more than regal charities
Drift coolly from that tower of whispered light.
Amid the noontide's blazed asperities
I watched the sun's most gracious anchorite
Climb up as by communings, year on year
Uneaten of the earth or aught earth holds,
And the grey trunk, that's elephantine, rear
Its frondings sighing in retherial folds.
Forever fmitless, and beyond that yield
Of sweat the jungle presses with hot love
And tendril till our deathward breath is sealed-
It grazes the horizons, launched above
Mortality - ascending emerald.bright,
A fountain at salute, a crown in view-
Unshackled, casual of its azured height
As though it soared suehwise through heaven too.
121
THE AIR PLANT
GRAND CAYMAN
T HIS tuft that thrives on saline nothingness,
Inverted octopus with heavenward arms
Thrust parching from a palm-hole hard hy the cove -
A hird almost - of almost hird alarms,
Is pulmonary to the wind that jars
Its tentacles, horrific in their lurch.
The lizard's throat, held bloated for a fly,
Balloons hut warily from this throbhing perch.
The needles and hack-saws of cactus hleed
A milk of earth when stricken off the stalk;
But this,- defenseless, thornless, sheds no hlood,
Almost no shadow - hut the air's thin talk.
Angelic Dynamo I Ventriloquist of the Blue!
While heachward creeps the shark-swept Spanish Main
By what conjunctions do the winds appoint
Its apotheosis, at last - the hurricane!
122
IMPERATOR VICTUS
BIG gunS again
No speakee well
But plain.
Again, again -
And they shall tell
The Spanish Main
The Dollar from the Cross.
Big guns again.
But peace to thee,
Andean brain.
That defunct boss.
Big guns again,
Atahualpa,
Imperator Inca-
Slain.
123
THE HURRICANE
Lo, Lord, Thou ridest!
Lord, Lord, Thy swifting heart
Naught stayeth, naught now hideth
But's smithereened apart!
Ay! Scripture flee'th stone!
Milk-hright, Thy chisel wind
Rescindeth flesh from hone
To quivering whittlings thinned -
Swept - whistling straw! Battered,
Lord, e'en houlders now out-leap
Rock sockets, levin-lathered!
Nor, Lord, may worm out-deep
Thy drum's gamhade, its plunge ahscond!
Lord God, while summits crashing
124
KEY WEST
Whip sea-kelp screaming on blond
Sky-seethe, high heaven dashing-
Thou ridest to the door, Lord!
Thou bidest wall Dor floor, Lord!
BACARDI SPREADS THE
EAGLE'S WINGS
P A B L 0 and Pedro, and black Serafin
Bought a launch last week. It might as well
Have been made of - well, say paraffin,
- That thin and blistered, just a rotten shell.
"Hell! out there among the barracudas
Their engine stalled. No oars, and leaks
Oozing a-plenty. They sat like baking Buddhas.
Luckily the Cayman schooner streaks
"By just in time, and lifts' em high and dry .••
They're back now on that mulching job at Pepper's.
- Yes, patent-leather shoes - hot enough to fry
Anyone but these native high-steppers!"
126
AND BEES OF PARADISE
I H A. D come all the way here from the sea,
Yet met the wave again between your arms
Where cliff and citadel- all verily
Dissolved within a sky of beacon forms-
Sea gardens lifted rainbow-wise through eyes
I found.
Yes, tall, inseparably our days
Pass sunward. We have walked the kindled skies
Inexorable and girded with your praise,
By the dove f i l l e d ~ and bees of Paradise.
121
TO EMILY DICKINSON
You who desired so much - in vain to ask-
Yet fed your hunger like an endless task,
Dared dignify the lahor, bless the quest -
Achieved that stillness ultimately hest,
Being, of all, least sought for: Emily, hear!
o sweet, dead Silencer, most suddenly clear
When singing that Eternity possessed
And plundered momently in every breast;
- Truly no flower yet withers in your hand,
The harvest you descried and understand
Needs more than wit to gather, love to hind.
Some reconcilement of remotest mind -
Leaves Ormus ruhyless, and Ophir chill.
Else tears heap all within one clay-cold hill.
128
MOMENT EDGUE
T 1I E syphilitic selling violets calmly
and daisies
By the subway news-stand knows
how hyacinths
This April morning offers
hurriedly
In hunches sorted freshly-
and bestows
On every purchaser
(of heaven perhaps)
His eyes-
like crutches hurtled against glass
Fall mute and sudden (dealing change
for lilies)
Beyond the roses that the flesh can pass.
IJ9
TO THE CLOUD JUGGLER
IN MEMORIAM: BARRY CROSBY
W HAT you may cluster 'round the knees of space
We hold in vision only, asking trace
Of districts where cliff, sea and palm advance
The falling wonder of a rainbow's trance.
Your light lifts whiteness into virgin azure •••
Disclose your lips, 0 Sun, nor long demure
With snore of thunder, crowding us to bleed
The green preemption of the deep seaweed.
You, the rum-giver to that slide·by·night,-
The moon's best lover,- guide us hy a sealight
Of quarts to faithfuls - surely smuggled home -
As you raise temples fresh from basking foam.
Expose vaunted validities that yawn
Past pleasantries ••• Assert the ripened dawn
As you have yielded balcony and room
Or tempests - in a silver, floating plume.
130
KEY WEST
Wrap us and lift US; drop us then, returned
Like water, undestroyed,- like mist, unburned •.•
But do not claim a friend like him again,
Whose arrow must have pierced you beyond pain.
131
BY NILUS ONCE I KNEW .•.
S 0 M E old Egyptian joke is in the air
Dear lady - the poet said - release your hair;
Come, search the marshes for a friendly bed
Or let us bump heads in some lonely shed.
An old Egyptian jest has cramped the tape.
The keyboard no more offers an escape
From the sweet jeopardy of Anthony's plight
You've overruled my typewriter tonight.
Decisive grammar given unto queens,-
An able text, more motion than machines
Have levers for,- stampede it with fresh type
From twenty alphabets - we're still unripe!
This hieroglyph is no dumb, deaf mistake.
It knows it's way through India - tropic shake!
It's Titicaca till we've trod it through
And then it pleads again, "I wish I mew,"
TO SHAKESPEARE 1
T H R 0 UGH torrid entrances, past icy poles
A hand moves on the page! Who shall again
Engrave such hazards as thy might controls -
Conflicting, purposeful yet outcry vain
Of all our days, being pilot,- tempest, too!
Sheets that mock lust and thorns that scribble hate
Are lifted from torn flesh with human rue,
And laughter, burnished brighter than our fate,
Thou wieldest with such tears that every faction
Swears high in Hamlet's throat, and devils throng
Where angels beg for doom in ghast distraction
And fall, both! Yet thine Ariel holds his song:
And that serenity that Prospero gains
Is justice that has cancelled earthly chains.
1 A 'I1tZ1iatioD of tlds P(}(fQI.:
THB TREE
GREAT WILLIAM
THROUGH torrid entrances, by icy poles
1& hand branches the page! who shall again
Command such hazard. as that trunk. controls.
Strident, yet purpoeeful, those stresses gain
The surest leaves, He'a pilot.- teropest too.
For bolts that shield lust, thorns that scribble hate
Be pe,rrlee, strikes and cancels. Noble rue
With leaved laushter be CIID lrlnd and JIIIIte;
KEY WEST
And out of courses challenge desperate faction.
That oath, tempered in Hamlet's throat, is gong
To angels, demons,- both in ghast dIstraction!
And what of failure - so there's Ariel's song?
The clear serenity that Prospera gains
Is ever acom in a world of chains,
134
THE BROKEN TOWER
THE bell-rope that gathers God at dawn
Dispatches me as though I dropped down the knell
Of a spent day - to wander the cathedral lawn
From pit to crucifix, feet chill on steps from hell.
Have you not heard, have you not seen that corps
Of shadows in the tower, whose shoulders sway
Antiphonal carillons launched before
The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray?
The bells, I say, the bells break down their tower;
And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave
Membrane through marrow, my long-scattered score
Of broken intervals .••• And I, their sexton slave!
Oval encyclicals in canyons heaping
The impasse high with choir. Banked voices slain!
Pagodas, campaniles with reveilles outleaping-
o terraced echoes prostrate on the plain! •••
And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
135
KEY WEST
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
My word I poured. But was it cognate, scored
Of that tribunal monarch of the air
Whose thigh embronzes earth, strikes crystal Word
In wounds pledged once to hope - cleft to despair?
The steep encroachments of my blood left me
No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower
As flings the question true?) - or is it she
Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?-
And through whose pulse I hear, counting the strokes
My veins recall and add, revived and sure
The angelus of wars my chest evokes:
What I hold healed, original now, and pure •••
And builds, within, a tower that is not stone
(Not stone can jacket heaven) -but slip
Of pebbles - visible wings of silence sown
In azure circles, widening as they dip
The matrix of the heart, lift down the eye
That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower •••
The commodious, tall decorum of that sky
Unseals her earth, and lifts love in its shower.
136
THE PHANTOM BARK
So dream thy sails, 0 phantom bark
That I thy drowned man may speak again
Perhaps as once Will Collins spoke the lark,
And leave me half a-dream upon the main.
For who shalIlift head up to funnel smoke,
And who trick back the leisured winds again
As they were fought - and wooed? They now but stoke
Their vanity, and dream no land in vain.
Of old there was a promise, and thy sails
Have kept no faith but wind, the cold stream
- The hot fickle wind, the breath of males
Imprisoned never, no not soot or rain.
131
MARCH
A W A KEto the cold light
of wet wind running
twigs in tremors. Walls
are naked. Twilights raw-
and when the sun taps steeples
their glistenings dwindle
upward ...
March
slips along the ground
like a mouse under pussy
willows, a little hungry.
The vagrant ghost of winter,
is it this that keeps the chimney
husy still? For something still
nudges shingles and windows:
hut waveringly,- this ghost,
this slate-eyed saintly wraith
of winter wanes
and knows its waning.
138
OLD SONG
T HI N E absence overflows the rose.-
From every petal gleam
Such words as it were vain to close,
Such tears as crowd the dream
So eyes that mind thee fair and gone,
Bemused at waking, spend
On skies that gild thy remote dawn
More hopes than here attend.
The burden on the rose will fade
Sped in the spectrum's kiss.
But here the thorn in sharpened shade
Weathers all loneliness.
139
FOUR· UNCOLLECTED POEMS
A TRAVELER BORN
o F S A I LOR S - those two Corsicans at Marseille,-
The Dane at Paris, and those weeks of May
With distance, lizard·like, green as Pernot •.•
This Connecticut rain, its smashing fall, its wet inferno-
Enforces memory - prison, perfume of women, and the
fountain-
Oh, final apple-math of ripe night fallen!
Concluding handclasp, cider, summer.swollen,
Folds, and is folden in the echoing mountain .••
Yields and is shielded, wrapt in traffic flame.
143
ENRICH MY RESIGNATION
E NB.ICB my resignation as I usurp those far
Feints of control- hear rifles blown out on the stag
Below the reroplane - and see the fox's brush
Whisk silently beneath the red hill's crag,
Extinction stirred on either side
Because love wonders, keeps a certain mirtIi.-
Die, oh, centuries, die, as Dionysus said,
Yet live in all my resignation.
It is the moment, now, when all
The heartstrings spring, unlaced-
,Here is the peace of the fathers.
144
THE SAD INDIAN
SAD heart, the gymnast of inertia, does not count
Hours, days - and scarcely sun and moon-
The warp is in his woof - and his keen vision
Spells what his tongue has had - and only that-
How more?- but the lash, lost vantage and the prison
His fathers took for granted ages since - and so he looms
Farther than his sun-shadow - farther than wings
Their shadows even - now can't carry him.
He does not know the new hum in the sky
And - backwards - is it thus the eagles fiy?
145
THE CIRCUMSTANCE
TO XOCHIPILLI
THE anointed stone, the coruscated crown
The drastic throne, the
Desperate sweet eyepit-basins of a bloody foreign clown -
Couched on bloody basins, floating bone
Of a dismounted people •••
If you could buy the stones,
Display the stumbling bones
Urging your unsuspecting
Shins, sus-
Taining nothing in time hut more and more of Time
Mercurially might a.dd hut would
Subtract and concentrate ••. If you
Could drink the sun as did and does
Xochipilli - as they who've
Gone have done, as they
Who've done ••• A god of flowers in statued
Stone ••• of love-
If you could die, then etarve, who live
Thereafter, stronger than death smiles in flowering stone;-
146
UNCOLLECTED POEMS
You could stop time, give florescent
Time a longer answer back (shave lightning,
Possess in hale full the winds) of time
A longer answer force, more enduring answer
As they did - and have done •••
147
THE VISIBLE THE UNTRUE
TO E. O.
YES, I being
the tenible puppet of my dreams, shall
lavish this on you -
the dense mine of the orchid, split in two.
And the finger-nails that cinch such
environs?
And what about the staunch neighbor tabulations,
with all their zest for doom?
I'm wearing badges
that cancel all your kindness. Forthright
I watch the silver Zeppelin
destroy the sky. To
stir your confidence?
To rouse your sanctions?
The silver strophe ••• the canto
bright with myth ... Such
distances leap landward without
evil smile. And, as for me •••
148
UNCOLLECTED POEMS
The window weight throbs in its blind
partition. To extinguish what I have of faith.
Yes, light. And it is always
always, always the eternal rainbow
And it is always the day, the day of unkind farewell.
149
RELIQUARY
TEN D ERN E S S and resolution!
What is our life without a sudden pillow,
What is death without a ditch?
The harvest laugh of bright Apollo
And the flint tooth of Sagittarius,
Rhyme from the same Tau (closing cinch by cinch)
And pocket us who, somehow, do not follow,
As though we knew those who are variants,
Charms that each by each refuse the clinch
With desperate propriety, whose name is writ
In wider letters than the alphabet,-
Who is now left to vary the Sanscrit
Pillowed by
My wrist in the vestibule of Time?- Who
Will hold it - wear the keepsake, dear, of time -
Return the mirage on a coin that spells
Something of sand and sun the Nile defends?
150
PURGATORIO
My country, 0 my land, my friends-
Am I apart - here from you in a land
Where all your gas lights - faces - sputum gleam
Like something left, forsaken - here am. l-
And are these stars - the high plateau - the scents
Of Eden - and the dangerous tree - are these
The landscape of confession - and if confession
So absolution? Wake pines-but pines wake here.
I dream the too-keen cider - the too-soft snow.
Where are the bayonets that the scorpion may not grow?
Here quakes of earth make houses fa11-
And all my countrymen I see rush toward one stall;
Exile is thus purgatory - not such as Dante built,
But rather like a blanket than a quilt,
And I have no decision - is it green or brown
That I prefer to country or to town?
I am unraveled, umbilical anew,
As ring the church hells here in Mexico-
(They ring too obdurately here to heed my call)
And what hours they forget to chime I'll know,
As one whose altitude atcone time, was not so.
151
HAVANA ROSE
LET us strip the desk for action - now we have a
house in Mexico .... That night in Vera Cruz - verily for
me "the True Cross"-let us remember the Doctor and my
thoughts, my humble, fond remembrances of the great bac-
teriologist .••. The wind, that night, the clamour of in·
cessant shutters, doors, and the watchman tiptoeing the
successive patio balconies trundling with a typical pistol-
trying to muffle doors - and the pharos shine - the mid-
wind midnight stroke of it, its milk.light regularity above
my bath partition through the lofty, dusty glass - Cortez
- Cortez - his crumbled palace in the square - the
typhus in a trap, the Doctor's rat trap. Where? Somewhere
in Vera Cruz - to bring - to take - to mix - to ran·
som - to deduct - to cure ••••
The rats played ring around the rosy (in their base-
ment basinette) - the Doctor supposedly slept, suppos-
edly in #35 - thus in my wakeful watches at least-
the lighthouse flashed ••. whirled ••• delayed, and
struck - again, again. Only the Mayans surely slept-
whose references to typhus and whose records spurred the
Doctor into something nigh those metaphysics that are
typhoid plus and had engaged him once before to death's
beyond and back again,- antagonistic wills - into immu.
152
UNCOLLECTED POEMS
nity. Tact, horsemanship, courage, were germicides to
him .•..
Poets may not he doctors, hut doctors are rare poets
when roses leap like rats - and too, when rats make rose
nozzles of pink death around white teeth .•••
And during the wait over dinner at La Diana, the
Doctor had said - who was American also -"You cannot
heed the negative, so might go on to undeserved doom •.•
must therefore loose yourself within a pattern's mastery
that you can conceive, that you can yield to - hy which
also you win and gain mastery and happiness which is your
own from hirth."
IS!
REPLY
THO U canst read nothing except through appetite,
And here we join eyes in that sanctity
Where brother passes brother without sight,
But finally knows conviviality .••
Go then, unto thy turning and thy blame.
Seek bliss then, hrother, in my moment's shame.
All this that halks delivery through words
Shall come to you through wounds prescribed hy swords:
That hate is but the vengeance of a long caress,
And fame is pivotal to shame with every sun
That rises on eternity's long willingness .••
So sleep, dear brother, in my fame, my shame undone.
154
A POSTSCRIPT
FRIENDSHIP agony! words came to me
at last shyly. My only final friends -
the wren and thrush, made solid print for me
across dawn's hroken arc. No; yes •.. or were they
the audible ransom, ensign of my faith
towards something far, now farther than ever away?
Remember the lavender of that dawn, lilies,
their ribhon miles, heside the railroad ties
as one nears New Orleans, sweet trenches by the train
after the western desert, and the later cattle country;
and other gratuities, like porters, jokes, roses. • .
Dawn's hroken arc! the noon's more furbished room!
Yet seldom was there faith in the heart's right kindness.
There were tickets and alarm clocks. There were counters
and schedules;
and a paralytic woman on an island of the Indies,
Antillean fingers counting my pulse, my love forever.
155
ETERNITY
September- rememberl
October - all WeT.
-BARBADIAN ADA41
AFT E R it was over, though still gusting halefullYt
The old woman and I foraged some drier clothes
And left the house, or what was left of it;
Parts of the roof reached Yucatan, I suppose.
She almost - even then - got blown across lots
At the base of the mountain. But the town, the town!
Wires in the streets and Chinamen up and down
With arms in slings, plaster strewn dense with tiles,
And Cuban doctors, troopers, trucks, loose hens .•.
The only huilding not sagging on its knees,
Fernandez' Hotel, was requisitioned into pens
For cotted Negroes, bandaged to be taken
To Havana on the first boat through. They groaned.
But was there a hoat? By the wharf's old site you saw
Two decks unsandwiched, split sixty feet apart
And a funnel high and dry up near the park
Where a frantic peacock rummaged amid heaped cans.
Noone seemed to be able to get a spark
From the world outside, hut some rumor blew
That Havana, not to mention poor Bataban6,
Was halfway under water with :fires
156
UNCOLLECTED POEMS
For some hours since - all wireless down
Of course, there too.
Back at the erstwhile house
We shoveled and sweated; watched the ogre sun
Blister the mountain, stripped now, bare of palm,
Everything - and lick the grass, as black as patent
Leather, which the rimed white wind had glazed.
Everything gone - or strewn in riddled grace-
Long tropic roots high in the air, like lace.
And somebody's mule steamed, swaying right by the pump,
Good God! as though his sinking carcass there
Were death predestined ! You held your nose already
along the roads, begging for buzzards, vultures. ..
The mule stumbled, staggered. I somehow couldn't budge
To lift a stick for pity of his stupor.
For I
Remember still that strange gratuity of horses
- One ours, and one, a stranger, creeping up with dawn
Out of the bamboo brake through howling, sheeted light
When the storm was dying. And Sarah saw them, too -
Sobbed. Yes, now - it's almost over. For they know;
The weather's in their noses. There's Don - but that one,
white
- I can't account for himI And true, he stood
Like a vast phantom maned by all that memoried night
Of screaming rain - Eternity!
157
UNCOLLECTED POEMS
Yet water, water!
I beat the dazed mule toward the road. He got that far
And fell dead or dying, hut it didn't so much matter.
The morrow's dawn was dense with carrion hazes
Sliding everywhere. Bodies were rushed into graves
Without ceremony, while hammers pattered in town.
The roads were being cleared, injured brought in
And treated, it seemed. In due time
The President sent down a hattleship that haked
Something like two thousand loaves on the way.
Doctors shot ahead from the deck in planes.
The fever was checked. I stood a long time in Mack's talking
New York with the gobs, Guantanamo, Norfolk:,-
Drinking Bacardi and talking U.S.A.
158
THE RETURN
THE sea raised up a campanile ••• The wind I heard
Of brine partaking, whirling spout in shower
Of column kiss - that breakers spouted, sheared
Back into bosom - me - her, into natal power •••
159
APPENDIX A.
EARLY POEMS
NOTE
HART CRANE began to write verse in his fourteenth year. When he pre-
pared his first collection. White Buildings, in 1926, he rejected a large mass
of poems composed befGre he was twenty; and destroyed the manuscripts.
A few of these early efforts had, however, been publIshed in magazmes,
such as The Pagan" The Modem School, The Modernist, S4N, The Measure;
and were thus saved for the student of the evolution of Crane's style. His
first published verse appea,red in Bruno':; Bohemia, when he was fifteen.
The majority of the poems here reproduced are from The Pagan. They are
printed as an appendix, in order to preserve the fact of their rejection by
the poet. -EDITOR
THE HIVE
U p the chasm-walls of my bleeding heart
Humanity pecks, claws, sobs and climbs;
Up the inside, and over every part
Of the hive of the world that is my heart.
And of all the sowing, and all the tear-tendering,
And reaping, have mercy and love issued forth;
Mercy, white milk, and honey, gold love-
And I watch, and say, "These the anguish are worth."
1917
169
ANNUNCIATIONS
T HE anxious milk-hIood in the veins of the earth,
That strives long and quiet to sever the girth
Of greenery •••• Below the roots, a quickening shiver
Aroused by some light that had sensed,- ere the shiver
Of the nrst moth's descent,- day's predestiny .•.
The sand of a dove's Hight waved over the lawn •••
The moan of travail in one dearest beside me ...
Then high cries from great chasms of chaos withdrawn-
Hush! these things were all heard before dawn.
1917
164
THE BATHERS
Two ivory women by a milky sea;-
The dawn, a shell's pale lining restlessly
Shimmering over a black mountain-spear:-
A dreamer might see these, and wake to hear
But there is no sound - not even a bird-note;
Only simple ripples flaunt, and stroke, and float,-
Flat lily petals to the sea's white throat.
They say that Venus shot through foam to light,
But they are wrong ...• Ere man was given sight
She came in such still water, and so nursed
In Silence, beauty blessed and beauty cursed.
1917
165
MODERN CRAFT
T 11 0 U G 11 I have touched her flesh of moons,
Still she sits gestureless and mute,
Drowning cool pearls in alcohol.
o blameless shyness;- innocence dissolute!
She hazards jet; wears tiger.lilies;-
And bolts herself within a jewelled helt.
Too many palms have grazed her shoulders:
Surely she must have felt.
Ophelia had such eyes; but she
Even, sank in love and choked with flowers.
This hums and is not burnt •••• My modem love were
Charred at a stake in younger times than ours.
1918
CARRIER LETTER
M y hands have not touched water since your hands,-
No;- nor my lips freed laughter since "farewell."
And with the day, distance again expands
Between us, voiceless as an uncoiled shell.
Yet,- much follows, much endures .•. Trust birds alone:
A dove's wings clung about my heart last night
With surging gentleness; and the blue stone
Set in your tryst·ring has but worn more bright.
1918
OCTOBER-NOVEMBER
I N D I A N-summer-sun
With crimson feathers whips away the mists,-
Dives through the :filter of trellises
And gilds the silver on the hlotched arhor-seats.
Now gold and purple scintillate
On trees that seem dancing
In delirium;
Then the moon
In a mad orange flare
Floods the grape-hung night.
1918
FEAR
THE host, he says that all is well
And the fire-wood glow is bright;
The food has a warm and tempting smell,-
But on the window licks the night.
Pile on the logs .••• Give me your hands,
Friends! No,- it is not fright ..••
But hold me ••• somewhere I heard demands ••••
And on the window licks the night.
1918
169
;eOSTSCRIPT
THO UGH now but marble are the marble urns,
Though fountains droop in waning light, and pain
Glitters on the edges of wet ferns,
I should not dare to let you in again.
Mine is a world foregone though not yet ended,-
An imagined garden grey with sundered boughs
And broken hranches, wistful and unmended,
And mist that is more constant than your vows.
1918
170
TO POT APOVITCH
(OF THE BALLET RUSSE)
V AU L T on the opal carpet of the sun,
Barbaric Prince Igor:- or, blind Pierrot,
Despair until the moon by tears be won;-
Or, Daphnis, move among the bees with Chloe.
Release,- dismiss the passion from your arms.
More real than life, the gestures you have spun
Haunt the hlank stage with lingering alarms,
Though silent as your sandals, danced undone.
1919
171
FORGETFULNESS
FORGETFULNESS is like a song
That, freed from beat and measure, wanders.
Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled,
Outspread and motionless -
A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly.
Forgetfulness is rain at night,
Or an old house in a forest!- or a child.
Forgetfulness is white,-
White as a blasted tree,
And it may stun the sybil into prophecy,
Or bury the Gods.
I can remember much forgetfulness.
1919
172
APPENDIX B.
MODERN POETRY: AN ESSAY
"MODERN POETRY" 1
MODERN poetry has long since passed the crest of
its rebellion against many of the so-called classical stric-
tures. Indeed the primary departures of the early intran-
sigeants were often more in a classic direction, with respect
to certain neglected early European traditions, than were
many of the Victorian regulations that formed the imme-
diate butt of attack.
Revolution flourishes still, hut rather as a contem-
porary tradition in which the original obstacles to freedom
have heen, if not always eradicated, at least obscured by
floods of later experimentation. Indeed, to the serious artist,
revolution as an all-engrossing program no longer exists.
It persists at a rapid momentum in certain groups or move·
ments, hut often in forms which are more constricting than
liberation, in view of a generous choice of subject matter.
The poet's concem must be, as always, self.discipline
toward a formal integration of experience. For poetry is an
architectural art, based not on Evolution or the idea of
progress, but on the articulation of the contemporary hu-
man consciousness sub specie retemitatis, and inclusive of
1 This essay 'W'8S written by Hart Crane for Oliver M. Sayler's Sym-
posi1UX1, "Revolt in the Am" (B:nmtano's, 1929). and is reproduced br
pennis&iOll. of Mr. Sayler and of the Publishers. EDrrOJl.
175
APPENDIX B
all readjustments incident to science and other shifting fac-
tors related to that consciousness. The key to the process of
free creative activity which Coleridge gave us in his "Lec-
tures on Shakespeare" exposes the responsibilities of every
poet, modem or ancient, and cannot be improved upon.
"No work of true genius," he says, "dares want its appro-
priate form, neither indeed is there any danger of this. As
it must not, so genius cannot, be lawless: for it is even
this that constitutes its genius - the power of acting cre-
atively under laws of its own origination."
Poetry has at once a greater intimacy and a wider,
more exact scope of implication than painting or any of
the other arts. It is therefore more apt to be indicative of
impending changes in other media such as painting or
music. This is a logical deduction that facts do not always
favor, as in the case of some modem composers such as
Stravinsky, the full purport of whose inspiration seems to
lie beyond the reach of current literary expression. Liter-
ature has a more tangible relationship to painting; and it
is highly probable that the Symbolist movement in French
poetry was a considerable factor in the instigation nrst, of
Impressionism, and later, of Cubism. Both arts have had
parallel and somewhat analogous tendencies toward ab-
stract statement and metaphysical representation. In this
recent preoccupation it is certain that both media were
responding to the shifting emphasis of the Western World
away from religion toward science. Analysis and discovery,
the two basic concerns of science, became conscious objec.
tives of both painter and poet. A great deal of modem
painting is as independent of any representational motive
176
APPENDIX B
as a mathematical equation; while some of the most intense
and eloquent current verse derives sheerly from acute psy ..
chological analysis, quite independent of any dramatio
motivation.
The function of poetry in a Machine Age is identical
to its function in any other age; and its capacities for pre-
senting the most complete synthesis of human values remain
essentially immune from any of the so-called inroads of
science. The emotional stimulus of machinery is on an en-
tirely different psychic plane from that of poetry. Its only
menace lies in its capacities for facile entertainment, so
easily accessible as to arrest the development of any hut
the most negligible esthetic responses. The ultimate influ-
ence of machinery in this respect remains to be seen, hut
its firm entrenchment in our lives has already produced a
series of challenging new responsibilities for the poet.
For unless poetry can absorb the machine, i.e., accli-
matize it as naturally and casually as trees, cattle, galleons,
castles and all other human associations of the past, then
poetry has failed of its full contemporary function. This
process does not infer any program of lyrical pandering
to the taste of those obsessed by the importance of m a c h i n ~
ery; nor does it essentially involve even the specific men-
tion of a single mechanical contrivance. It demands,
however, along with the traditional qualifications of the
poet, an extraordinary capacity for surrender, at least tem-
porarily, to the sensations of urban life. This presupposes,
of course, that the poet possesses sufficient spontaneity and
gusto to convert this experience into positive terms. Machin-
ery will tend to lose its sensational glamour and appear in
177
APPENDIX B
its true subsidiary order in human life as use and continual
poetic allusion subdue its novelty. For, contrary to general
prejudice, the wonderment experienced in watching nose
dives is of less immediate creative promise to poetry than
the familiar gesture of a motorist in the modest act of
shifting gears. I mean to say that mere romantic specula-
tion on the power and beauty of machinery keeps it at a
continual remove; it cannot act creatively in our lives
until, like the unconscious nervous responses of our hodies,
its connotations emanate from within - forming as spon-
taneous a terminology of poetic reference as the hucolic
world of pasture, plow and ham.
The familiar contention that science is inimical to
poetry is no more tenable than the kindred notion that the·
ology has heen proverhially hostile - with the "Comme-
dia" of Dante to prove the contrary. That "truth" which
science pursues is radically different from the metaphor-
ical, extra-logical "truth" of the poet. When Blake wrote
that "a tear is an intellectual thing, And a sigh is the sword
of an Angel King"- he was not in any logical conflict with
the principles of the Newtonian Universe. Similarly, poetic
prophecy in the case of the seer has nothing to do with
factual prediction or with futurity. It is a peculiar type of
perception, capable of apprehending some ahsolute and
timeless concept of the imagination with astounding clarity
and conviction.
That the modern poet can profitably assume the roles
of pbilosopher or theologian is questionable at best.
Science, the uncanonized Deity of the times, seems to have
automatically displaced the hierarchies of both Academy
178
APPENDIX B
and Church. It is pertinent to cite the authors of the "Com-
media" and "Paradise Lost" as poets whose verse survives
the religious dogmas and philosophies of their respective
periods, but it is fallacious to assume that either of these
poets could have written important religious verse without
the fully developed and articulated religious dogmas that
each was heir to.
The future of American poetry is too complicated a
speculation to be more than approached in this limited
space. Involved in it are the host of considerations relative
to the comparative influences of science, machinery and
other factors which I have merely touched upon;-besides
those influential traditions of early English prosody which
form points of departure, at least, for any indigenous
rhythms and forms which may emerge. The most typical
and valid expression of the American psychosis seems to
me still to be found in Whitman. His faults as a technician
and his clumsy and indiscriminate enthusiasm are some-
what beside the point. He, better than any other, was able
to coordinate those forces in America which seem most
intractable, fusing them into a universal vision which takes
on additional significance as time goes on. He was a revo-
lutionist beyond the strict meaning of Coleridge's definition
of genius, but his bequest is still to be realized in all its
implications.

THE COLLECTED POEMS

OF

HART CRANE

EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

WALDO FRANK

LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION NEW YORK

THE COLLECTED POEMS OF HART CRANE

*
COPYRIGHT, 1933, LIVERIGHT INC. LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION

*
ConrigM in All Countries

*
BLACK
GOLD EDITION JULY, 1946
&

*
M anujlJctu1"eJ

mthe United States of Ameri&1I

EDITOR'S NOTE

the time of his death, Hart Crane had prepared for publication a volume to be called Key West: An Island Sheaf. This collection, with the poems as arranged by Crane, figures as Part Three of this volume. The Uncollected Poems were found in manuscript among the poet's papers, and were written for the most part in the last three or four years of his life. Some of them had no title. Many of them, it is clear, are incomplete and were so considered by the poet. There exist a number of l1ariora of certain passages of The Bridge, apart from the variations in the Paris edition which appeared a few months before the first New York issue; but the Editor has not judged that the publication of vanora would be advisable in this first collected edition. The text of The Bridge adhered to, is the final one chosen by the poet and published by Liveright, Inc. The Editor is indebted principally to Mrs. Grace Hart Crane, the poet's mother, and to Mr. Samuel Loveman, for assistance in the preparation of this volume. His thanks are due also to Mr. Malcolm Cowley, Mr. Pat McGrath and Mr. Joseph Kling, former editor of The Pagan.

AT

Israel and Greece. it was not transfigured. The same will established Catholic Europe." 1 This tradition rose in the Mediterranean world with the will of Egypt. Thomas Hooker. on the same intellectual and economic terms. EMILY DICKINSON America had a common culture. which was both the fruit and the carrier of what I have called elsewhere' "the great tradition. the great tradition survived. and when it failed (producing nonethe· less what came to he the national European cultures). Revolution. Reformation. It survived in the Europe of Renaissance. Roger Williams. AG a The Re-discovery of America. to recreate the individual and the group in the image of values called divine. Jonathan Ed· wards. It was transplanted. Superior oj doors. Madison.~N INTRODUCTION I dwell in Possibility A ja:Lrer house than PrO!6. in a more narrow sense. with the same tools. vii . But before the final defeat of its Puritan avatar-a defeat ensured by RAR I AN 2. it was formally transplanted to the North American seahoard. Jefferson. that had heen hrought from Europe and that had failed in Europe. With the Puritans. Adams.. later. carried on the great tradition. More numerous of windows.

They are frustrate. knowing the failure of their lives to enact the beauty of their great tradition. their acceptance of its will for their own. Frost's art. a smoldering spark of victory. and this humbler achievement is . whose vision was one of Possibility and whose doom. whose beauty Frost recorded. And viii . Thoreau. Poe. They face grimly their resurgent hills. Mountai11. Interval. poor. the great tradition had borne fruit in two general forms. and the War brought final ruin to the American culture of "free" individuals living for the most part on farms. was to remain suspended in the thin air of aspiration.recorded. but persons. since its premise was a disappearing world. perhaps finally. Yet their dwelling within it for many generations. It gives us not a vision. is one of Proba. The first was the ideological art of what Lewis Mumford calls the Golden Day: a prophetic art of poets so diverse as Emerson. Frost's record (North of Boston. sung its last high Word in the old terms that 'Were valid from Plato to Fichte. Acceptance of the ideal of the great tradition had its eft'ect upon their character. and it is this in the verse of Frost that makes it poetry of a high order. . has given them even in defeat a :6hre of strength. often mad. before the Civil War. 1914. unlike Whitman's or Melville's. bility. The tradition which had tempered the persons in Frost's poems had already. The second was within the lives of the common people. in the poems of Robert Frost. 1916) was already made when the United States entered the War.AN INTRODUCTION the disappearance of our agrarian economy.

his own class world not too radically differing from theirs. Yet they relied upon inherited forms . In a society transfigured by new scientific and economic forces. We shall. not seek the clear forms of a poet of Probability. But the great tradition. ethical. bards of Possi. Marx and Nietzsche are brothers. for the Civil War prepared the doom which the World War completed. Emerson was content with the ideology of Plato and Buddha. But we shall. social. does not die. also. transplanted from Europe and not too deliquescent for their uses. like Frost. The literature and philosophy of the past hundred years reveal many efforts at this transfiguration: in this common purpose. They were all. it too must be transfigured. we shall be better prepared to understand his methods. bility rather than scribes of realisation. his obscurity. Whitman's apocalypse' rested on the politics of Jefferson and on the economics of the physiocrats of France. whose tradition he immediately continues. of course. intellectual and religious. Even Emily Dickinson based her explosive doubts upon the permanent premise of . not too widely trust Crane's kinship with the poets of the Emersonian era. If we bear in mind this purpose of Crane's work.AN INTRODUCTION this too was fitting.•• forms emotional. The poetry of Hart Crane is a deliberate continuance of the great tradition in terms of our industrialised world.. unbroken from Hermes Trismegistus and Moses. like Crane. his content. of our agrarian classculture. The poetry of Whitman was still founded on the substances of the old order.

survive. Crane was a true culture-child. needed. value--still clear. creed. but because of the time that Heshed him and that he. was ever close to chaos. he could not employ traditional concretions. machines. to substance his vision. naked and brave. What is clear in Crane. who began to write while Frost was perfecting his story. the warring hungers of lonely and herded men. These conventional assumptions gave to these poets an accessible and communicable form. with sound materials. none of the formal securities. instinctively at first. Cities. to achieve poetic form. he was a child of modern man. To master them. class. Whitman's New York. were ever near to overwhelm the poet. iri a cultural chaos. Poe's Richmond-had dissolved. Crane. however weak. and it binds him to the great tradition. and his attempt.AN INTRODUCTION a sheltered private garden. none of the ideal landmarks. . in Emerson's Boston. In his lack of valid terms to express his relationship with life. He began. for we too have been nurtured on the words of that old order. then with poignant awareness. is the impact of inchoate forces through which he rose to utterance. therefore his language problem-the poet's need to :find words at once to create and to communicate his vision-is acute. His vision was the timeless One of all the seers. But in Crane. to which such as she could always meditatively retire. the passions released from defeated loyalties. he must form his Word unaided. in a world whose cant outlines of person. lived. besides the intensity and the traditionalism of his creative will. more completely than either Emily Dickinson or Blake.

Laforgue. who soon separated from her husband. two almost mutually exclusive tendencies divided the American literary scene. Clarence Arthur Crane and Grace Hart. At this time. he went with his mother. he was composing verse. in the words of Gorham Munson. which gave him his :first experience of the sea. 1899. Young Crane was in vital touch with hoth. where his grandfather Hart had a fruit ranch. De#iMtioM. an only child. 1928. but he was also finding inHAROLD HART 1 i. were of the pioneer stock that trekked in covered wagons from New England to the Western Reserve. he was in New York.AN INTRODUCTION b CRANE was hom in Garrettsville. Rimbaud. 10 far as I know. already passionately and rather wildly living.rts. July 21. tutoring for college. The essay in this volume on Crane." In the winter of 1916. But his grandparents. He was reading Marlowe. the first important study of the poet. Here. The following year. Ohio. Alfred Kreymborg. editors of The Little Review. and Clarence A. in contact with Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap. One was centered by Ezra Pound. was cardinal in his growth. writing.. on hoth sides. written in 1925~ . and this journey. lived from his tenth year. Crane hecame a wealthy candy manufacturer in Cleveland. the poet. Harriet Monroe's Poetry and The Little Review. His parents. south of Cuba. at sixteen. had already shifted from the farm to small town business. to the Isle of Pines. Donne.1 "he was writing on a level that Amy Lowell never rose from. At thir· teen. the imagists. the other was grouped about The Seven A.

He decided not to go to college. and by his own choice. reveals the complexity of his interests. when the United States lurched into war. He received a minimum wage. a shipping clerk. Hart became a candy salesman behind a counter. returned to Cleveland. to meditate. Doubtless. making for the ricochet of antagonism and attraction that lasted between them until the father's death. but under all. he wanted time to write. Hart Crane escaped several times from the paternal yoke. a job in the candy business of his father where he hoped to find some leisure without losing contact with the industrial world. to accept what seemed a comfortable compromise. Trusted employees were detailed to spy on him lest he read Upoetry books" during work hours. His action. He was no poet in an ivory tower. The candy magnate set to work to drive the "poetry nonsense" out of his boy. to read. The elder Crane seems to have been a man of turbulent and twisted power. The conflict of desires led him. a soda-jerker. to work as a common laborer in a munition plant and a shipyard on the Lake. there was a secret emotional bond between the two.AN INTRODUCTION spiration in Whitman. He loved machines. he was bitter at his one child's siding with the mother in the family conflict. a year before the poet's. But he also loved music. Sherwood Anderson and Melville. usually to advertising jobs near home or in New Yark. He was sincerely outraged by the jest of fortune which had given him a poet for a son. perhaps. . the earth-tang of the workers. tough-fihred and wholly loyal to the gods of Commerce.

the chaos of his personal life led him to rationalise that accessible tangent ease from the strain of balance. who had left a comfortable household to live with machines and rough men. which excess use of alcohol invited. This experience. by immediate experience. The easiest defense from this mystic hurden is of course the common one of denying the mystic experience altogether. in 1920. the organic continuity between his self and the cosmos. Doubtless. when Crane was thirty-two. and lest it turn into an overwhelming.AN INTRODUCTION And at last. . it must be ruthlessly disciplined and ordered. The youthful poet. Yet there was a deeper cause for the dis-equilibrium which." 1 who had tasted the strong drink of literature and war. the problem of organic continuity between the self and a seemingly chaotic world-thus perpetuating the inward-and-outward chaos. becomes intense in a man whose native energy is great. a burden hard to hold in equilibrium. Crane was a mystic. which is the normal fruit of sensitivity. by negation and aggressive repression. An anti-mystical age like ours is simply one so innerly resourceless that it solves. who had shouldered "the curse of sundered parentage. carried within him a burden intricate and heavy. was finally to break him from his love of life and destroy him. shattering burden. he decided to break with both Cleveland and his father_ His exquisite balance of nerves was already permanently impaired. The mystic is a man who knows. The true solution 1 Tie Bridge.

The poet was clearer and shrewder than the man. For the nucleus within the self. he let the world pour in. The important poems. Therefore. which is at once the motive of the poetry and the form of its realisation. As Allen Tate points out in his Introduction to White Buildings (1926). Tate again: "A series of Imagist poems is a series of worlds. he needed the tangent release of excess drink and sexual indulgence. and since his nuclear self was not disciplined to detachment from his nerves and passions. it is to achieve within one's self a stable nucleus to bear and finally transfigure the world's impinging chaos. The poems of Hart Crane are facets of a single vision. a single evaluating power. reveal this quest but not the finding. xiv . "a suitable theme" is lacking. By this synthesis of his own burden. anterior to The Bridge. is impersonal and cosmic. and written between his nineteenth and his twenty-fifth year. the mystic escapes from destruction and becomes a master. Yet he was too virile to deny the experience of continuity. as it is gradually revealed. But. is indeed the dynamic key to order in the "outward" world. to quote Mr. sought a poetic principle to integrate the exuberant Hood of his impressions. he lived exacerbated in a constant swing between ecstasy and exhaustion.AN INTRODUCTION is too arduous for most men: by self-knowledge and selfdiscipline. wavers and breaks. The themes of these poems are high enough. they refer to a central imagination. grown strong." This central imagination. wanting the unitary principle or theme. His mind. Crane did not personally achieve it.

a conscious. is imperfect. And that is why it is at times impossible to transpose a series of images into the sense. The first lines of his White Buildings As silent as a mirror is believed Realities plunge in silence by •• _ are a superb expression of chaos." only ephemerally framed in a mirroring mood which alas! at once melts. and illumining the latter in the former. That is why. in this first group. Page after page. But the integers (subjective and objective) are almost never clear.and thought-sequence that originally moved the poet and that must be perceived in order to move the reader. There is not yet.AN INTRODUCTION turns hack upon itself instead of mastering the envisaged substance of the poem. Objective reality exists in these poems only as an oblique moving-inward to the poet's mood. itself. as in imagist or romantic verse. the sole clarity is the balance of antithetical movements. substantiated . But the mood is never. Each lyric is a diapason between two integers of a continuous one. "realities plunge by. coterminous with both the absolute image-logic of the poem and the thought-logic of the poet. into the turbulent procession. a fragmentary part of a poem is sometimes greater than the whole. and of the poet's need to integrate this chaos within the active mirror of self. It is given only as a moving-outward toward the objective world. wavering. This makes of the poem an abstract. given for and as itself. as in the later work. resthetic body. The mediate principle.

objective. -As if too brittle or too clear to touch! The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed. Of rimless floods. The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends As her demeanors motion well or ill. But in the final six lyrics (Voyages) there is the beginning of a synthesis attained by the symbolic use of the Sea.AN INTRODUCTION theme or principle of vision to stratify the interacting parts of the poem into an immobile whole. Take this Sea. Samite sheeted and process~oned where Her undinal vast belly moonward bends. trackless smile •. whose diapason knells On scrolls of silver snowy sentences. shred ends from ~rnembered stars. The bottom of the sea is cruel. The turbulent experiences of Crane's childhood and youth are merged into a litany of the Sea. Laughing the rapt inflections of our love. encompassing. Already hang. All but the pieties of lovers' hands. huge. You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast. One frozen. maternal. Here is the Sea. unfettered leewardings.• What WO'l"ds Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we xvi . hostile. -And yet this great wink of eternity.

. But the poet is ready to begin his quest again for a theme that shall integrate. his art more rigorous. Both. In 1924. as William Carlos Williams has noted. Crane knew the Seasource of life. . Slow tyranny of moonlight. Blue latitudes and levels of your eyes. and a unity won by the refusal of human consciousness. White Buildings closes on the note of surrender. the seasounds: Gongs in white sl(. is the Sea giving to the poet's love its rhythm and very substance. the poems of White Buildings written but unpublished.rplices. Brooklyn. beshrouJed wails.AN INTRODUCTION Are overtaken. as poetic instruments for solving the mystic's burden. in range of the Harbor. moonlight loveq And changed . first Mother-as death to man. Not Crane. are romantic and unreal.. Far strum of fog korns•• •• xvii . And . Lawrence used the symbol of perfect sexual union. no sword Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge. Lawrence was satisfied with his symbol. not destroy. much as D. H... and that to woo it was death. the Bridge. Crane is using the symbol of the Sea as a principle of unity and release from the contradictions of personal existence. Now no cry. Crane was living at no Columbia Heights. both denote a return to a "beginning" before the life of reason.- here. the multiple human world he loves. His intellect was more robust.

1930 (a limited first edition. beyond any other aspect of New York. inscribed to Otto H. Kahn. was issued earlier in Paris by the Black Sun Press)." 1 The Bridge was published in April. gave him no financial assistance until the last years when his son's fame began to impress him). He was working as a writer of advertising copy. The Poem. By the fall of 1925. 1929.. he had achieved the pattern of his Poem. He appealed successfully to Otto H.. and with a generous purse he went to the Isle of Pines. was completed in December. its willingness to attempt the untried and the impossible--came to a head in the Brooklyn Bridge. Marseilles. its personal heroism in the face of dangerous industrial processes. then to Paris. writing and-at intervals-rather riotously living. Crane had learned that the house where the vision of The Bridge first came to him and where he finished it.AN INTRODUCTION And now the integrating theme came to him. after he left Cleveland. was once the property of Washington Roebling. its skill in handling iron. Lewis Mumford was prophetically writing: " •. All that the age had just cause for pride in-its advances in science.. and that the very room in which Crane lived had been em· ployed by the paralysed engineer of Brooklyn Bridge as an observation tower to watch its construction. Kahn (his father. the Brooklyn Bridge has been a source of joy and inspiration to the artist. Crane received ~iii . In the interim. In 1931. In the year when Crane first found his theme. I think..

despite their technical perfection. could not hold its poet. as with most men. The principle that Hart Crane had sought. now again it was rising. mark a retreat from the high position of that Poem back to the mood of White Buildings-a return from grappling with the elements of the industrial world back to the primal Mother world whose symbol is the tropic Sea. for it gave Crane release not. The Bridge. The symbol of the Sea -theme of retreat into the unity of immersion and of dissolution-still bespoke him. his plan being to write a poem on the history of Montezuma. a variation on the American theme which The Bridge stated. The poems later than The Bridge. to make him master of his sense of immediate continuity with a world overwhelmingly chaotic. while he stood high above it on his mythic Bridge.AN INTRODUCTION a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. It was not accidental that Crane's tender friendships were with boys who followed the Sea. He had a literary method to apply the principle to his vision. with its challenging synthesis of life. The Sea had ebbed. and went to Mexico. wherein all the modern mul· tiverse is accepted and transfigured without loss into One. But in actuallife. but from the more intolerable burden of continuity with life's chaos. it did not sustain him. from the burden of separateness from life. gave him The Bridge. as it had finally bespoken the love experience in White Buildings. he had no psychological method to apply it to his person. And drink was the Sea's coadjutor. xix .

It is an earth unwieldy to man's pleasure. it exiles valley from valley. cruel. where for a thousand years a cult of Deathpersonal immolation in a Nature ruthless and terrible as the Sea-has been practiced by a folk of genius. exuberant valleys. Crane fought. tendons Crested and creeping. mesetas of thin air. and to fulfill it in the Conquest from which modern Mexico was born. Titanic and volcanic mountains. "But this man was still man.AN INTRODUCTION Here waves climb into dusk on gleaming mail. I was writing: "Perhaps the earth of Mexico conspired to create the tragic mood of the Aztec. the crystal intervening times when he could write were crowded out. it begrudges loam for corn or overwhelms it with torrential'rains. While Crane sailed to Mexico. Invisible valves of the sear-locks.spana. It is no mystery that in such an earth man should have built temples of blood or possessed his life in contemplation of a loveliness deadly as fire and distant as the stars. In a hostile and adorable world. from tears to frenzied laughter. burning deserts. troughing corridors • •• Nor was it accidental that Crane now chose to go to Mexico.death 14merica Bi. The periodicity of his excesses grew swifter. radiant. encourage a culture not smiling but extreme. and yet he loves it like a goddess. in whose house he must serve forever. This earth is a tyrant. man's and woman's love of life breathed on••••" 1 The second paragraph refers to the Mexico of Revolu· tion-"the will of Mexico to be free of its death and of a beauty that flowers in death". Man is a stranger within it. suddenly indulgent. the first describes the Mexico that now possessed Hart Crane. .

linking him to his fathers. Brazen hypnotics glitter here. and of Crane the child of modern man. Hence the organic soundness of the verse. he walked to the stem of the Orizaba. could he xxi . like the march of those equal children of the Elizabethans--the pioneers. The boat was about three hundred miles north of Havana. Glee shifts from foot to foot • •• always. Its traditional base is complex. leaving the warm waters which fifteen years before he had first known. to the modern chaos. quietly. He took off his coat. If I begin to analyse this conviction. a few moments before noon. Although Crane describes a modem cabaret. there is this homely metronomic. and leaped.AN INTRODUCTION in Mexico. the entire intellectual and spiritual content of Crane's verse. Its livingness it owes to the dimension of variant emergence from the traditional music--like the emergence of our industrial world from the base of old America. But on his return to New York. is a sturdy lilt. Indeed. On April 27. 1932. I am brought first to the poetic texture. And here. also. there was the Sea: and he could not resist it. C THE beauty of most of Crane's lyrics and of many passages in The Bridge seems to me to be inviolable. Here is a music plainly related to the Elizabethans.

as we have seen. if it help the reader to give his whole attention at once to that Poem's inner substance.AN INTRODUCTION derived from a study of his typical texture. The Poem retains the personal origin of its own will. as myth and principle. perhaps. Therefore. when the life of man was coterminous with his vision. I immediately amend it. in response to desperate need. Crane'a cosmos {:for reasons which we examined when we called Crane a xxii . the line of Dante's Poem is ~ways clear. will be a swift outline of the action of The Bridge. and that person is the poet. But an analysis of Crane's poetics does not belong in a brief introduction. personal need: the poet must create order from the chaos with which his associative genius over· whelms him. More fitting. Dante's cosmos. imaged in an age of cultural maturity. And this is earnest of his importance. comes to a person in the course of his day's business. being forth and back. The will of Crane in The Bridge becomes deliberately myth. contains Time and persons: only in the ecstatic last scenes of the Paradiso are they momently merged and lost. being the person of the Poet with whom the reader can readily graph points of reference. In this sense. Lest the analogy be misleading.making. But this will. takes a journey in the course of which his need finds consummation. is born of a desperate. The revelation of The Bridge. The Bridge is allied to the Commedia of Dante who also. in Time: and the focus of the action is always cogent.

a poet innocent of culture-words) has no Time: and his person-sense is vacillant and evanescent. river. It exemplifies the rOle played by the cultural epoch in the creation of even the most personal work of genius. begins the recital of the poet's journey which in tum traces in extension (as Columbus in essence) the myth's trajectory. The poet awakes in his room above the Harbor. transmuted. it shall now vault the continent and. he is suffused in his history and his ocean. reach that inward heaven which is the fulfi. Part One. It joins city. like the Commeaia or Don Quixote. and mother of our dream). Crane's journey is that of an individual unsure of his own form and lost to Time. This difference at once clarifies the disadvantageous resthetic of The Bridge. beside his lover. man made it with his new Hand. Pwihutrm's Dauglaer (the Indian Princess is the flesh of America. In Proem. It shall synthesise the world of chaos. his will is more substantial than his eye. But this Columbus is scarcely a person. the machine.AN INTRODUCTION child of modem man. the American earth. . And parabolawise. mystic navigator who mapped his voyage in Isaiah. is the vision of Columbus. Ave Maria. as compared with that of broadly analogous Poems of cosmic search.llment of man's need of order. Risen (taking the harbor and the sea-sounds with him). he walks through the lowly Brooklyn streets: hut walks with his cultural xxiii. seeking to weld the world's riven halves into one. and sea. the poet exhorts the ohject of his choice-the Bridge. Nor does he live in Time. Part Two.

and now the subway is a river "leaping" from Far Rockaway to Golden Gate. Now~ with Part Three. who is bidding her son farewell. barely emergent from chaos. of Hart Crane. near mid· xxiv . Cortes. and this first crystallisationthe prairie mother--is the first weak block in the Poem's structure. home from a frustrate trek to California for gold. he is going east again to follow the sea.AN INTRODUCTION past: Pizarro. The patterning march of the American settlers traces the body. ("Write me from Rio. gradually." Powhatan's daughter. will abide the poet's as they approach the transfigured world of today. the flow of continent and man becomes the Great River. A river of steel rails at first. He de· scends the subway that tunnels the East River (the Bridge is above). "meeting the Gulf. The poet is in South Street. dances and the flesh becomes spirit.") There are no persons in the universe. dances at last into the life of an Indiana mother. Manhattan. Dances the poet's boyhood memories of star and lake. Cuttr Sark. after the white man and before him. of "sleek boat nibbling margin grass". bearing westward America's urban civilisation ("Stick your patent name on a signboard") and waking as it runs the burdened trudge of pioneers and all their worlds of factory and song. fresh from sleep. but 'blurred. and now Rip Van Winkle whose eyes. America's flesh. Priscilla. of Pocahontas. is borne southward. the physical course of the poet (the subway ride has exploded into the cosmic implications of the River) returns to view. the huge travail of continental life.

the movement tums back toward crystallisation. we have seen the individual forms of the poet's crowded day melt into widening. Cape Hatteras. the harbor into the sea: a subway into a transcontinental railroad. Part Six. Part Five. sails ticketing the Line. is a pause for humbler music. ribald South Street into a vision-while the Bridge brings the clippers that bring China-of Atlantis. Cape Hatteras at first invokes the geologic age that lifted the Appalachians above the waters. is an attempt to focus the cosmic journey once more upon xxv . the Indian princess into the Earth Mother and her dance into the tumult and traffic of the nation. the River into the Gulf. and there.AN INTRODUCTION night: he is carousing with a sailor who brings him. finally. in the hallucinatory parade of clippers who once winked round the Hom "hright sky. Stamboul-and the dim harbinger of Atlantis. Thus far. the "red. eternal flesh of Pocahontas" gives us. "Years of the Modern! Propulsions toward what capes?" The Saunterer on the Open Road takes the hand of the poet. Columbus into the destiny and will of the Atlantic: two lovers into the harbor." the poet is out again. Walt Whitman. Three Songs. deepening cycles of association. Part Four. now seaward. "I started walking home across the Bridge". upon the variable theme of woman. Quaker Hill. into a River. Leviathan. is the turning point of the Poem. Now. into a continent. the cosmic struggle sharpens into the hirth of the airplane-industrial America. Plato. in snatches of song.

The subway is the tunnel. it fails for the same basic reasons. leaves the Bridge. The Tunnel gives us man in his industrial hell which the machine---his hand and heart-has made. In my judgment. in mid air at midnight. now let the machine he his godlike Hand to uplift him! The plunging subway shall merge with the vaulting bridge. it is moving! In the plunging subway darkness. The tunnel is America. All.. by subway. The poet. This unreal collapse of bridge into subway has meaning.AN INTRODUCTION the person of the poet. the most prophetic as thinker. Of all the classic poets of the great tradition in America. and is a kind of hell. is the whole life of the city entextured of all the images created by the Poem. Poe. appears Poe: And why do 1 often meet your visage here. as we have noted. however vaguely. Only Poe guessed the transfiguring effect of the Machine upon the forms of human life. he will understand the apparition. were content more or less with the merely transplanted terms of an agrarian culture. upon the very concept of the person. the method. And now. Part Seven. Your eyes like agate lanterns • . Whitman gives the vision. Poe-perhaps the least as artist-was the most advanced. he "comes down to earth" and returns home as he had left. The Tunnel. But it has dynamic direction. runs swift and fatefully to the climax. The xxvi . ? If the reader understands Poe. all the previous apparitions of earth and sun.

by the mystic law of continuity. There is even.AN INTRODUCTION final part. THE structural pattern of The Bridge is superb: a man moves of a morning from Brooklyn to Manhattan." with the Truth. is a transposed return to the beginning. the plethora of words is blinding. has linked Atlantis with Cathay. This flaw gets into the idiom and texture. the sequence breaks. since they are due to weakness of the personal focus. Like any human event. The Bridge. Even the failings in execution. returns at midnight. Atlantis. xxvii . fully known. for it is in the understanding and creating of persons that our rapidly collectivising age is poorest. The flaw lies in the weakness of the personal crystallisation upon which the vision rests. false ebullience of the American epoch (1924. in Time. it links man instantaneously. each stage of his course adumbrating.1929) in which the Poem was written. "beyond time. into American figures with cosmic overtones. as the Bridge is spanned upon its piers. the poet's genius has on the whole equalled his ambition. Now it becomes an absolute experience. in the development of certain figures. a tendency toward inflation which one is tempted to connect with the febrile. and all caught up in a mythic bridge whose functional span is a parabola and an immediate act of vision. Sometimes the image blurs. Yet the concept is sound. help to express the epoch.

A cosmic content has given beauty to the Bridge. the Poem makes the Bridge into a machine. cosmically). drives most men to think collectively in order that they may survive. will drive men to think personally (poetically. From a machine-made entity. This means that through the men who builded it.AN INTRODUCTION Crane's myth must. today and tomorrow. day after tomorrow. The Bridge is not a particularised being to be popularly sung. as only ~i . grown inadequate to the deepened needs of a mankind released from economic insecurity and prepared. for regeneration. not be confused with the myth as we :find it in Homer or the Bible or the Nibelungen. it becomes an instrument of spirit. necessity. now it must give it a poetic function. The Bridge is matter made into human action. when the functionally limited materialism of our collectivist era has.dently say that this message of The Bridge will be more comprehensible in the future (not in the immediate future). But it has beauty. of course. in order that their survival may have meaning. And the fact that this symbol begins as a man-constructed thing is of the essence of its truth for our instrumental age. For even as necessity. it is a conceptual symbol to be used. the life of America has flowed into the Bridge-the life of our past and o'ur future. When the ' collectivist era has done its wor~-the abolition of economic classes and of animal want-men will turn. From being a machine of body. by leisure. through success. We may con:6.

and the cosmos. the message of The Bridge will be taken for granted. of a man who through the immediate conduit of his senses experienced the organic unity between his self. however. for general interest. the objective world. whose very texture reveals and sings this man. But when that time comes. toward the discovery of Man. Def. it will be too obvious. The revelation in Crane's poems.ember 1932 . will be remembered. And the poems. even as today it is too obscure. will be accepted as a great human value. WALDO FRANK New York.AN INTRODUCTION the privileged of the past could ever turn.

Three Songs 1. Indiana 13 19 24 m. The Harbor Dawn 2. The River 4. Ave Maria Do S 5 9 11 Powhatan's Daughter 1. Quaker Hill 'VII. Cape Hatteraa 27 31 40 42 44 45 49 v. The Dance 5. Van Winkle S.CONTENTS Editor's Note An Introduction by Waldo Frank v vii ONE' THE BRIDGE Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge I. Tunnel Atlantis 5S . Southern Cross 2. Cutty Sark IV. The 'VJII. National Winter Garden s. Virginia VI.

VI THREE' KEY WEST: 61 63 64 65 67 68 70 71 73 75 76 77 78 79 81 82 84 86 88 91 93 100 101 AN ISLAND SHEAF Key West o Carib Isle! The Mango Tree Island Quarry The Mermen 113 114 116 117 118 . V. IV. III.TWO· WHITE BUILDINGS Legend Black Tambourine Emblems of Conduct My Grandmother's Love Letters Sunday Morning Apples Praise for an Urn Garden Abstract Stark Major Chaplinesque Pastorale In Shadow The Fernery North Labrador Repose of Rivers Paraphrase Possessions Lachrymae Christi Passage The Wine Menagerie Recitative For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen At Melville's Tomb Voyages. II. I.

Bacardi Spreads the Eagle's Wings And Bees of Paradise To Emily Dickinson Moment Fugue To the Cloud Juggler By Nilus Once 1 Knew ••• To Shakespeare The Bro~eu Tower The Phantom Bark 119 120 121 122 123 124 126 127 128 129 130 132 133 135 137 - March Old Song FOUR· UNCOLLECTED POEMS l38 139 A Traveler Bom Enrich My Resignation The Sad Indian The Circumstance The Visible the Untrue Reliquary Purgatorio Havana Rose Reply A Postscript Eternity 143 144 145 146 148 150 151 152 154 155 156 The Return lSQ .'fte Idtot A Name for All Royal Palm The Air Plant Imperator Victus The Hurricanp.

n Essay 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 175 .APPENDIX A'EARLY POEMS The Hive Annunciations The Bathers Modern Craft Carrier Letter October-November Fear Postscript To Potapovitch Forgetfulness B·MODERN POETRY: A.

aM from walking up and dlYWn in it. THE BOOE: OF JOB .ONE· THE BRIDGE From going to and fro in the earth.

with inviolate curve. shrill shirt ballooning. yet left Some motion ever unspent in thy stride. across the harbor.Implicitly thy freedom staying thee! Out of some subway scuttle. Tilting there momently. Foretold to other eyes on the same screen. forsake our eyes As apparitional as sails that cross Some page of figures to be filed away. Shedding white rings of tumult. cell or loft A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets. but hastened to again. . silver-paced As though the sun took step of thee. A jest falls from the speechless caravan.Till elevators drop us from our day . And Thee. building high Over the chained bay waters LibertyThen.•• I think of cinemas. panoramic sleights With multitudes bent toward some :Bashing scene Never disclosed. How 3 . chill from his rippling rest The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him.TO BROOKLYN BRIDGE many dawns.

from girder into street noon leaks.tooth of the sky's acetylene. Thy guerdon ••• Accolade thou dost bestow Of anonymity time cannot raise: Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show. Beading thy path .Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom. (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet's pledge.• Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still. Unto us lowliest sometime sweep. Prayer of pariah. 4 . the prairies' dreaming sod. and the lover's cry. Under thy shadow by the piers I waited. o harp and altar. A rip. immaculate sigh of stars. Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.condense eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms. And obscure as that heaven of the Jews. Vaulting the sea. All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn •. of the fury fused.THE BRIDGE Down Wall. Already snow submerges an iron year ••• o Sleepless as the river under thee. descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God. The City's fiery parcels all undone.

I bring you back Cathay! Here waves climb into dusk on gleaming mail. -SENECA BE with me. nowWitness before the tides can wrest away The word I bring.-locks. 0 you who reined my suit Into the Queen's great heart that doubtful day. now proved. Yet lost. s(lIcuia seris. Juan Perez. stood me 5 . Invisible valves of the sea. To you.. too. troughing corridors That fall back yawning to another plunge. Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum Laxet et ingens pateat tellus Tiphysque 1I01J(}S detegat orbes Nee sit terris ultima Thule.I AVE MARIA Venient tmnis. Luis de San Angel. whose counsel fear And greed adjoumed. tendons Crested and creeping. Slowly the sun's red caravel drops light Once more behind us•••• It is morning thereo where our Indian emperies lie revealed. For I have seen now what no perjured breath Of clown nor sage can riddle or gainsay. That made me exile in her streets. let this keel one instant yield! I thought of Genoa. and this truth. all.

Series on series. 10. half-heard. kept the watch. infinite.THE BRIDGE More absolute than ever . "The Great White Birds!" (0 Madre Maria. still One ship of these thou grantest safe returning. tests the word. And later hurricanes may claim more pawn.biding the moon Till dawn should clear that dim frontier.. harsh.The Chan's great continent. another. of water. wonder-breathing.enclose This turning rondure whole. Merges the wind in measure to the waves. accrete . first seen .till eyes Starved wide on blackened tides. floating in a casque.•. Yet under tempest-lash and surfeitings Some inmost sob. And they came out to us crying.. This third.•• For here between two worlds. not fear Nigh surged me witless •••• Hearing the surf nearI. Assure us through thy mantle's ageless blue!) And record of more. dissuades the abys!. and shadow cuts sleep from the heart Almost as though the Moor's flung scimitar Found more than flesh to fathom in its fall.saw The first palm chevron the first lighted hill. Was tumbled from us under bare poles scudding. Then faith. . here Bewilderment and mutiny heap whelming Laughter. this crescent ring Sun-cusped and 2ioned with modulated fire Like pearls that whisper through the Doge's hands 6 . And lowered..

Some Angelus environs the cordage tree.perhaps Tomorrow's moon will grant us Saltes BarPalos again. 0 Thou Within whose primal scan consummately The glistening seignories of Ganges swim. thy Virgin's charity! . The jellied weeds that drag the shore. this western sea. Dark waters onward shake the dark prow free.Rush down the plenitude.Inquisitor! incognizable Word Of Eden and the enchained Sepulchre. Into thy steep savannahs. Utter to loneliness the sail is true. Yet yield thy God's. a stray branch among salty teeth.THE BRIDGE -Yet no delirium of jewels! 0 Fernando. And all the eddying breath between dost search Cruelly with love thy parable of man.Who sendest greeting by the corposant. Take of that eastern shore. burning blue. and arguing the mast Subscribest holocaust of ships. o Thou who sleepest on Thyself. apart Like ocean athwart lanes of death and hirth. and you shall see Isaiah counting famine on this lee! * An herb... * 7 . Who grindest oar.a land cleared of long war.

round thy brows unhooded now .The kindled Crown! acceded of the poles And biassed by full sails.still one shore beyond desire! The sea's green crying towers a-sway. faith And true appointment from the hidden shoal: This disposition that thy night relates From Moon to Saturn in one sapphire wheel: The orbic wake of thy once whirling feet. mustering In holy rings all sails charged to the far Hushed gleaming fields and pendant seething wheat Of knowledge..Te Deum laudamus. for thy teeming span! Of all that amplitude that time explores. meridians reel Thy purpose . suspended north. A needle in the sight. Beyond And kingdoms naked in the trembling heartTe Deum laudamus o Thou Hand of Fire 8 .Yielding by inference and discard.THE BRIDGE And Teneriffe's garnet . Urgillg through night our passage to the Chan. Elohim.flamed it in a cloud. still I hear thy sounding heel! White toil of heaven's cordons.

the pillowed bay.Flurried by keen :6. beshrouded wails. And then a truck will lumber past the wharves As winch engines begin throbbing on some deck. Somewhere out there in blankness steam Spills into steam. turning their heels upwards. 01 the age of eleven or twelve years. naked as she was.II -POWHATAN'S DAUGHTER "-Pocahuntus. get the boyes forth with her into the market place. all the fort ooer.a tide of voices- They meet you listening midway in your dream. whom she would followe. fog-insulated noises: Gongs in white surplices.fings. And if they take your sleep away sometimes They give it back again. and wanders.•. tired sounds. and make them wheeZe." THE HARBOR DAWN INSISTENTLY through sleep. a well-featured but wanton 'long girle .T hands. washed away . Or a drunken stevedore's howl and thud below Comes echoing alley-upward through dim snow. Soft sleeves of sound Attend the darkling harbor. and wheele so herself. eddied 9 . lalling on the/. The long. Far strum of fog horns ••• signals dispersed in veils.

10 . before day claims our eyes Your cool arms murmurously about me lay. stealthily weave us into daySerenely now.three hright window-eyes aglitter. Cool feathery fold. Under the mistletoe of dreams. And you beside me.THE BRIDGE Among distant chiming buoys . released .Two . a star As though to join us at some distant hillTurns in the waking west and goes to sleep. distills This wavering slumber. undoubtful dark drink the dawna forest shudders in your hair! The window goes hlond slowly.singing arms close.adrift. my tongue upon your throat . suspends. eyes wide.••• SlowlyImmemorially the window. From Cyclopean towers across Manhattan waters .aloft with cold gulls hither. Frostily clears. While myriad snowy hands are clustering at the panes your hands within my hands are deeds. disk The sun.covered chair. the half. The fog leans one last moment on the sill. The sky. Ask: nothing but this sheath of pallid air. blessed now while sirens Sing to us.

THE BRIDGE

VAN WINKLE

as the tunny's belt, Leaps from Far Rockaway to Golden Gate: Listen! the miles a hurdy-gurdy grindsDown gold arpeggios mile on mile unwinds.
MACADAM, gun-grey

Times earlier, when you hurried off to school - It is the same hour though a later dayYou walked with Pizarro in a copybook, And Cortez rode up, reining tautly inFirmly as coffee grips the taste,- and away! There was Priscilla's cheek close in the wind, And Captain Smith, all beard and certainty, And Rip Van Winkle bowing by the way,"Is this Sleepy Hollow, friend -?" And he -

And Rip forgot the office hours, ani/, he forgot the pay; 17an Winkle sweeps a tenement way down on Avenue A,-

The grind-organ says ••• Remember, remember
The cinder pile at the end of the backyard Where we stoned the family of young Garter snakes under .•• And the monoplanes We launched-with paper wings and. twisted Rubber bands ••• Recall- recall

11

THE BRIDGE

the rapid tongues That flittered from under the ash heap day After day whenever your stick discovered Some sunning inch of unsuspecting fibre It flashed back at your thrust, as clean as fire.
And Rip was slowly made aware that he, Van Winkle, was not here nor there. He woke and swore he'd seen Broadway a Catskill daisy chain in May -

So memory, that strikes a rhyme out of a hox Or splits a random smell of flowers through glass Is it the whip stripped from the lilac tree One day in spring my father took to me, Or is it the Sabbatical, unconscious smile My mother almost brought me once from church And once only, as I recall-? It flickered through the snow screen, blindly It forsook her at the doorway, it was gone Before I had left the window. It Did not return with the kiss in the hall. Macadam, gun-grey as the tunny's helt, Leaps from Far Rockaway to Golden Gate.••• Keep hold of that nickel for car-change, Rip,Have you got your "Times"-? And hurry along, Van Winkle- it's getting late!

12

THE BRIDGE

THE RIVER
TIC It your patent name on a signboard hrother - all over - going west - young man Tintex - Japalac - Certain-teed Overalls ads and lands sakes! under the new playhill ripped in the guaranteed comer - see Bert Williams what? Minstrels when you steal a chicken just save me the wing for if it isn't Erie it ain't for miles around a Mazda - and the telegraphic night coming on Thomas a Ediford - and whistling down the tracks a headlight rushing with the sound - can you imagine - while an EXpress makes time like SCIENCE - COMMERCE and the BOLYGBOST RADIO ROARS IN EVERY BOME WE RAVE TBE NORTBPOLE WALLSTREET AND VIRGINBmTB WITHOUT STONES OR WIRES OR EVEN RUNning hrooks connecting ears and no more sermons windows flashing roar Breathtaking - as you like it •.. eh? So the 20th Century - so whizzed the Limited - roared by and left three men, still hungry on the tracks, ploddingly watching the taillights wizen and converge, slipping gimleted and neatly out of sight.

S

18

*

THE BRIDGE

The last bear, shot drinking in the Dakotas Loped under wires that span the mountain stream. Keen instruments, strung to a vast precision Bind town to town and dream to ticking dream. . But some men take their liquor slow - and count - Though they'll confess no rQsary nor clueThe river's minute by the far brook's year. Under a world of whistles, wires and steam Caboose-like they go ruminating through Ohio, Indiana - blind baggage To Cheyenne tagging ••• Maybe Kalamazoo. Time's rendings, time's blendings they construe As final reckonings of fire and snow; Strange bird.wit, like the elemental gist Of unwalled winds they offer, singing low My Old Kentucky Home and Casey Jones, Some Sunny Day. I heard a road-gang chanting so. And afterwards, who had a colt's eyes - one said, "Jesus! Oh I remember watermelon days!" And sped High in a cloud of merriment, recalled " - And when my Aunt Sally Simpson smiled," he drawled"It was almost Louisiana, long ago." "There's no place like Booneville though, Buddy," One said, excising a last burr from his vest, " - For early trouting." Then peering in the can, " - But I kept on the tracks.n Possessed, resigned,

14

knowing her yonder breast Snow-silvered. Jake or Charley. Spreading dry shingles of a beard•••• Behind My father's cannery works I used to see Rail. Yet they touch something like a key perhaps.I heard Wail into distances I knew were hers. Each seemed a child. the states . on a loose perch. sumac-stained or smoky blue Is past the valley-sleepers..Memphis to Tallahassee . old reprobates With racetrack jargon.dotting immensity They lurk across her. south or west. 15 . The ancient men .trod the fire down pensively and grinned. too. Blind fists of nothing. Holding to childhood like some termless play. humpty-dumpty clods. .They know a body under the wide rain.riding the rods. John. like me. hopping the slow freight . . And past the circuit of the lamp's thin flame (0 Nights that brought me to her body bare!) Have dreamed beyond the print that bound her name. Trains sounding the long blizzards out .wifeless or runaway Hobo-trekkers that forever search An empire wilderness of freight and rails. From pole to pole across the hills.THE BRIDGE He . Youngsters with eyes like fjords.As I have trod the rumorous midnights.squatters ranged in nomad raillery.

As though the waters breathed that you might know Memphis Johnny. As though you touched hands with some ancient clown. Under the Ozarks. And if it's summer and the sun's in dusk Maybe the breeze will lift the River's musk . below axe and powder horn. laid on her hair. if the train slows down. a dance of wheel on wheel. Propitiate them for their timber torn By iron. near Cairo passing. You have a half-hour's wait at Siskiyou. an eaglet's wing.always the iron dealt cleavage! They doze now. Such pilferings make up their timeless eatage. 16 . The old gods of the rain lie wrapped in pools Where eyeless fish curvet a sunken fountain And re-descend with corn from querulous crows. And space.iron strides the dewStraddles the hill. And Pullman breakfasters glide glistening steel From tunnel into field . you can see The Ohio merging. . Or stay the night and take the next train through. Steamboat Bill. domed by Iron Mountain. dark.A little while gaze absently below And hum Deep River with them while they go.Dead echoes! But I knew her body there. Missouri Joe. .THE BRIDGE Papooses crying on the wind's long mane Screamed redskin dynasties that fled the brain. lean from the window. Time like a serpent down her shoulder.. Southward.borne down Tennessee. iron . Oh.

turn again and sniff once more -look see. feed the River timelessly. vascular with silted shale And roots surrendered down of moraine clays: The Mississippi drinks the farthest dale. As loth to take more tribute . What are you. Brakeman and Authority Hitch up your pants and crunch another quid. o Sheriff. I could believe he joked at heaven's gate Dan Midland . But drift in stillness. :Bows . You will not hear it as the sea.sliding prone Like one whose eyes were buried long ago The River.THE BRIDGE Yes. spreading. Down. Damp tonnage and alluvial march of days:Nights turbid.jolted from the cold brake-beam. Grimed tributaries to an ancient :Bow They win no frontier by their wayward plight.• But slow. Always they smile out eerily what they seem. undertowed sunlight! The basalt surface drags a jungle grace 17 . down .bom pioneers in time's despite. lost within this tideless spell? You are your father's father. and the streamA liquid theme that :Boating niggers swell. o quarrying passion. And few evade full measure of their fate. even stone Is not more hushed by gravity •. as from Jordan's brow.and spends your dream. For you. too.

choked and slow.flow! . Poised wholly on its dream. The River lifts itself from its long hed. heaps itself free.. Patience! and you shall reach the hiding place! Over De Soto's bones the freighted Hoors Throb past the City storied of three thrones. its one will.barred in lengthening might. a mustard glow Tortured with history.The Passion spreads in wide tongues. 18 . Ahead No embrace opens hut the stinging sea. hosannas silently below. Meeting the Gulf. Down two more turns the Mississippi pours (Anon tall ironsides up from salt lagoons) And Hows within itself..THE BRIDGE Ochreous and lynx. All fades hut one thin skyline 'round .

brideo Princess whose brown lap was virgin May. There was a veil upon you. perpetual throne. and broken play.loth. into denser green. What laughing chains the water wove and threw! I learned to catch the trout's moon whisper. By the canoe Tugging below the mill-race. And in the autumn drouth. I left the village for dogwood. she rose with maize . She spouted arms. and the blue First moth of evening take wing stealthily. I 19 . And bridal fianks and eyes hid tawny pride.to die. on the arrow's oath: Now lie incorrigibly what years between••• There was a bed of leaves. streamed the mesa sands? He holds the twilight's dim. I could see Your hair's keen crescent rwming. whose burnished hands With mineral wariness found out the stone Where prayers. Pocahontas. Disturbed and destined. a winter kingWho squired the glacier woman down the sky? She ran the neighing canyons all the spring.THE BRIDGE THE DANCE THE swift red Hesh. forgotten. Greeting they sped us. Mythical brows we saw retiring .

. Swooping in eagle feathers down yoUX' hack. it hIed into the dawn. inaccessible smile that eastward hends And northward reaches in that violet wedge Of Adirondacks!. Over how many hluffs.shed. That blanket of the skies: the padded fool Within.I heard it. Cupped in the larches of the mountain passUntil.wisped of azure wands.THE BRIDGE Drifted how many hours I never knew. Smoke swirling through the yellow chestnut glade••• A distant cloud.. immortally. swinging. I left my sleek boat nibhling margin grass••• I took the portage climb. I could not stop. 20 . o Appalachian Spring! I gained the ledge. alone. tarns. saw that fleet young crescent die. then chose A further valley. a thunder-hud . Feet nozzled wat'ry wehs of upper flows. But.- And one star. 'til its rhythm drew. take its place.Siphoned the black pool from the heart's hot root! A cyclone threshes in the turhine crest. watching.And knew myself within some boding shade:Grey tepees tufting the blue knolls ahead.it grew. Steep. streams I sped! . One white veil gusted from the very top.

Now snaps the flint in every tooth. I saw more escorts wakeFlickering. strictly as the tamarack! A birch kneels. Sachem. know death's hest.THE BRIDGE Know. red fangs And splay tongues thinly busy the blue air ••• Dance. I could not pick the arrows from my side.dance us back the tribal mom! Spears and assemblies: black drums thrusting ono yelling battlements.. restoreLie to us. The long moan of a dance is in the sky. screamed from the stake.I. greeting. 21 . homl Spark. tooth! Medicine--man. Maquokeeta: Pocahontas grieves ••• And every tendon scurries toward the twangs Of lightning deltaed down your saher hair. I heard the hush of lava wrestling your a:rDlSt And stag teeth foam about the raven throat.circletecI. relent. too. and lives beyond! Sprout. sprint up the hill groins like a tide. Dance. Wrapped in that:fire. Maquokeeta! snake that lives before. . was liege To rainbows currying each pulsant hone: Surpassed the circumstance. All her whistling fingers fly.. danced out the siege! And buzzard. Maquokeeta. That casts his pelt.Fall. The oak grove circles in a crash of leaves.

Time itself. High unto Lahrador the sun strikes free Her speechless dream of snow.THE BRIDG-E Flame cataracts of heaven in seething swarms Fed down your anklets to the sunset's moat. I saw thy change begun! And saw thee dive to kiss that destiny Like one white meteor. 0. like the lizard in the furious noon. She is the torrent and the singing tree. slumbering pyramid Though other calendars now stack the sky. And she is virgin to the last of men ••• West. and stirred again. sacrosanct and hlent At last with all that's consummate and free There. Prince. and moon Of his own fate. * Thewed of the levin. . That drops his legs and colors in the sun. thunder-shod and lean. west and south! winds over Cumberland And winds across the llano grass resume 22 . Thy freedom is her largesse. And see'st thy hride immortal in the maize! Totem and fire-gall.And laughs. pure serpent. where the first and last gods keep thy tent. through what infinite seasons dost thou gazeAcross what bivouacs of thin angered slain. Lo. and hid On paths thou knewest hest to claim her hy.

•• Now is the strong prayer folded in thine arms. star-triggered in the listening vault Of dusk?-And are her perfect brows to thine? We danced. .into bloom! And when the caribou slant down for salt Do arrows thirst and leap? Do antlers shine Alert. we danced beyond their farms. The serpent with the eagle in the boughs. In cobalt desert closures made our vows .THE BRIDGE Her hair's warm sibilance. 0 Brave. Her breasts are fanned o stream by slope and vineyard .

24 .then his lost bones stirred. . How we.• But you who drop the scythe to grasp the oar Knew not. though we'd buried him behind us. once rode off.. climbing the morning long Over the lintel on its wiry vine. A dream called Eldorado was his town. far Back on the gold trail . furls in its song As I close mine••• And bison thunder rends my dreams no more As once my womb was torn. the firecat slunk away And glistening through the sluggard freshets came In golden syllables loosed from the clay His gleaming name.THE BRIDGE INDIANA THE morning-glory. when you Yielded your first cry at the prairie's door••• Your father knew Then. It rose up shambling in the nuggets' wake. too Waved Seminary Hill a gay good-bye.•• We found God lavish there in Colorado But passing sly. The pebbles sang. Closes before the dusk. Prodigal. my boy. too. nor heard.

is warm. yielded to us never. now you're going to sea..too late. remember 2S . And harren tears••• The long trail hack! I huddled in the shade Of wagon-tenting looked out once and saw Bent westward. strange for an Indian's. riding without rein. were not hlack But sharp with pain And like twin stars.the long team line Until she saw me . On her slender hack She cradled a babe's body. too early. She nodded .those yearsBut gilded promise. y ~ Larry. passing on a stumbling jade A homeless squawPerhaps a halfhreed. They seemed to shun the gaze Of all our silent men . your father's memory. Knew that mere words could not have hrought us nearer.and that smile across her shoulder Will still endear her AB long as Jim. But we.I suddenly the holder.when their violet haze Lit with love shine••• J held you up . Her eyes. howsoeverWon nothing out of fifty-nine .THE BRIDGE It had no charter hut a promised crown Of claims to stake.

came out of Arrowhead.First-born. I'm half of stone! Oh. hold me in those eyes' engaging blue.• Write me from Rio . And you're the only one with eyes like him Kentucky bred! I'm standing still.all that's left to me of Jim Whose folks.. There's where the stubborn years gleam and atone.• and you'll keep your pledge. I shall always wait You..before Ned and this farm. son. I know your word! Come back to Indiana . like mine.Where gold is true! Down the dim turnpike to the river's edgePerhaps I'll hear the mare's hoofs to the ford . Good-bye ••• oh. -my friend- 26 .not too late! (Or will you be a ranger to the end?) Good-bye ••. Larry. I'm old.THE BRIDGE You were the :first . rememberAnd since then . traveller stranger.

•• "It's S.III CUTTY SARK O.Antwerp .green glasses.S.weaving somebody's nickelsang- o Stamboul Rose - dreams wea'lJe the rose! Murmurs of Leviathan he spoke. and rum was Plato in our heads . talla nervous shark tooth swung on his chain.. the ntwies old and oaken. His eyes pressed through green grass . Ala . the Temerai.. 27 . O. or bar lights made them soshine1\01 ETa I GREENeyesstepped out-forgot to look at you or left you several blocks awayin the nickel-in-the-slot piano jogged "Stamhoul Nights".now remember kid to put me out at three she sails on time.re no more! -JlELVILLl!: man in South Street.

drums .No 1 don't want to know what time it is . or are there frontiers .drown Sing! " . galleries of watergutted lava snarling stone .•" o Stamboul Rose - drums weave - "1 ran a donkey engine down there on the Canal in Panama ..1 know what time it is .somewhere .heautiful.sands running••• 28 .that spiracle!" he shot a finger out the door••• "0 life's a geyser .I'm a Democrat .got tired of that then Yucatan selling kitchenware .hirdless mouth with ashes sifting down-? and then the coast again•••'~ Rose of Stamboul 0 coral Queenteased remnants of the skeletons of citiesand galleries.1 can't live on land -1" I saw the frontiers gleaming of his mind..my lungsNo .green .TilE BRIDGE I'm not much good at time any more keep weakeyed watches sometimes snooze -" his hony hands got to heating time.that damned white Arctic killed my time •. "A whaler onceI ought to keep time and get over it .running sands sometimes running sands .heads have you seen Popocatepetl.

silver .THE BRIDGE Or they may start some white machine that sings. the star fiooJs burning in a gulf of tears and sleep another thousandinterminably long since somebody's nickel. winged British repartees. Yo-hoI Pennies for porpoises tkat batik the keel! Fins whip tM breeze aro'llJ&(/. turreted sprites. weave those bright designs the trade winds drive••• Sweet opium and tea.stopped playingA wind worried those wicker-neat lapels. skil· ful savage sea-girls that bloomed in the spring .kick the traces .that torch of hers you knowI started walking home across the Bridge••• * Blithe Yankee vanities. Japan/ 29 .and know- ATLANTIS ROSE drums wreathe the rose.Heave. Then you may laugh and dance the axletree steel. the swinging summer entrances to cooler hells••• Outside a wharf truck nearly ran him down -he lunged up Bowery way while the dawn was putting the Statue of Liberty out .

THE BRIDGE Bright skysails ticketing the Line. baronial white on lucky blue! Perennial-Cutty-trophied-Sark! Thermopylre.scarfed of foam. 20 hours and anchored!) Rainbow. Melbourne. ran their eastings down.•• Pennants.where can you be Nimbus? and you rivals two a long tack keeping Taeping? Ariel? 30 . ot lava Head freshened the nip (sweet opium and tea!) and turned and left us on the lee••• Buntlines tusseling (91 days. Black Prince. wink round the Hom to Frisco. Flying Cloud through Sunda . Leander (last trip a tragedy). parabolasclipper dreams indelible and ranging. locked in wind-humors. their bellies veered green esplanades.

slowly through BombayOr to read you. there to eat an apple and recall The songs that gypsies dealt us at Marseille Or how the priests walked . who round the capes.convulsive shift of sand••• But we.knowing us in thrall 1\:1 P 0 N D To that deep wonderment.the dorsal change Of energy . Walt.return home to our own Hearths. the 1Jqyage done ••• -WALT WHITMAl'f I ERA B LEthe dinosaur sinks slow. our native clay Whose depth of red. slowly the hushed landCombustion at the astral core . tunnels- 31 . repeating to the stars The ancient names .. chimneys. surcharged With sweetness below derricks.IV CAPE HATTERAS The seas all crossed. the eastem Cape•• While rises in the west the coastwise range. the mammoth saurian ghoul. eternal flesh of PooahontusThose continental folded zona. wetSthered the capes. the promontories Where strange tongues vary messages of surf Below grey citadels.

We know the strident rule Of wings imperious••• Space. or more sudden tears. The captured fume of space foams in our ears What whisperings of far watches on the main Relapsing into silence.subjugated never.ah. instantaneous. Is sluiced by motion. blind crucible of endless space. Walt Whitman. Adam and Adam's answer in the forest Left Hesperus mirrored in the lucid pool. tell me. thin squeaks of radio static. resurrects A periscope to glimpse what joys or pain Our eyes can share or answer .then deflects Us. Now the eagle dominates our days. Seeing himself an atom in a shroud Man hears himself an engine in a cloud! " . Dream cancels dream in this new realm of fact From which we wake into the dream of act. syllables of faithl Walt. lifts a focus.THE BRIDGE Is veined by all that time has really pledged us••• And from above. Flickers a moment.Recorders ages hence". is jurist Of the ambiguous cloud.shifting gearsAnd we have laughter. if infinity Be still the same as when you walked the beach 32 . while time clears Our lenses.. shunting to a labyrinth submersed Where each sees only his dim past reversed ••• But that star-glistered salver of infinity. The circle. consumes us in its smile: A flash over the horizon .

. new jnkHngs in the velvet hummed Of dynamos.Sea eyes and tidal. where hearing's leash is strummed.your lone patrol . New verities. giggling in the girth Of steely gizzards . bright with myth! The nasal whine of power whips a new universe••• Where spouting pillars spoor the evening sky. like the Great Navigator's without ship.THE BRIDGE Near Paumanok .they also range Across the hills where second timber strays Back over Connecticut farms. As bright as frogs' eyes. bunched in mutual glee 33 . Gleam from the great stones of each prison crypt Of canyoned traffic •. harnessed jelly of the stars.the theme that's statured in the cliff. Of you . but fast in whirling armatures.• Confronting the Exchange. spurred: Into the bulging bouillon.axle-bound. Towards what? The forked crash of split thunder parts Our hearing momentwise. abandoned pastures. the panoramas and this breed of towers. but labyrinth Wherein your eyes.wound. confined In coiled precision. •• Power's script.and heard the wraith Through surf.. refinedIs stropped to the slap of belts on booming spools. Surviving in a world of stocks. undenying. its bird note there a long time falling••• For you. Under the looming stacks of the gigantic power house Stars prick the eyes with sharp ammoniac proverbs. bobbin-bound. o Saunterer on free ways still ahead! Not this our empire yet.

0 murmurless and shined In oilrinsed circles of hlind ecstasy! Stars scribhle on our eyes the frosty sagas. heights employed to fly War's fiery kennel masked in downy offings. sinewy silver biplane. banked and spun What ciphers risen from prophetic script. ubiquitous To hedge the seaboard. 34 .New latitudes. from Kill Devils Hill at Kitty Hawk Two brothers in their twinship left the dune.amphibian. What marathons new-set between the stars! The soul.THE BRIDGE The hearings gIint. Warping the gale. into flight.This tournament of space. Already knows the closer clasp of Mars. rife of doom apace! o Behold the dragon's covey . the threshed and chiselled heigbt. space-gnawing. wings emerge from larval-silver hangars. The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space. ride The blue's cloud-templed districts unto ether••• While Iliads glimmer through eyes raised in pride Hell's belt springs wider into heaven's plumed side. by naphtha fledged into new reaches. wrap the headland. soon give place To what fierce schedules.•. then blading the wind's flank. the Wright windwrestlers veered Capeward. Taut motors surge. Is baited by marauding circles. bludgeon flail Of rancorous grenades whose screaming petals carve us Wounds that we wrap with theorems sharp as hail! o Wheeled swiftly. unknotting.. nudging the wind's withers! There. bright circumferences.

. shadowed of the Cape. while searchlights. 0 Skygak.. meaningful. Slit the sky's pancreas of foaming anthracite Toward thee.as thy stilly eyes partake What alcohol of space. banging. fledged as the Pleiades With razor sheen they zoom each rapid helix! Up-chartered choristers of their own speeding They. Falcon-Ace. 0 Corsair of the typhoon.THE BRIDGE Through sparkling visibility. •• ! Remember. hear! Thine eyes bicarhonated white by speed. . outspread.satellited wide By convoy planes.•.Hast splintered space! Low. shear Cumulus Lay siege and hurdle Cirrus down the skiesI While Cetus-like. see How from thy path above the levin's lance Thou sowest doom thou hast nor time nor chance To reckon . Wings clip the last peripheries of light. Thou hast there in thy wrist a Sanskrit charge 85 . Regard the moving turrets! From grey decks See scouting griffons rise through gaseous crepe Hung low ••• until a conch of thunder answers Cloud-belfries. cavalcade on escapade. moonferrets that rejoin thee On fleeing balconies as thou dost glide. unsleeping. Each plane a hurtling javelin of winged ordnance.pilot. Bristle the heights above a screeching gale to hover. like fencers. Surely no eye that Sunward Escadrille can cover! There. 0 thou Dirigible. enormous Lounger Of pendulous auroral beaches. Tellurian wind-sleuths on dawn patrol.

•..Ascensions of thee hover in me now o 36 . upturned. sink with Enormous repercussive list-ings down Giddily spiralled gauntlets. escutcheoned wings Lift agonized quittance. sure reprieve! Lead-perforated fuselage. dashed (now nearing fast the Cape!) down gravitation's vortex into crashed ••• dispersion .THE BRIDGE To conjugate infinity's dim margeAnew••• ! But first. hirth. unlooping In guerrilla sleights. here at this height receive The benediction of the shell's deep.•• By Hatteras bunched the beached heap of high bravery! * The stars have grooved our eyes with old persuasions Of love and hatred. tilting from the invisible hrink Now eagle-bright.•• But who has held the heights more sure than thou. dance the curdled depth down whizzing Zodiacs. Walt!. now quarry-hid. twist-ing. into mashed and shapeless debris. trapped in combustion gyrlng..surcease of nations .

dost wield the rebound seed! The competent loam. all that sum.. and a pact. Hast kept of wounds.there and beyond! And this. by that Cape. upon my heart Is plummet ushered of those tears that start What memories of vigils. flaked like tethered foam Around bared teeth of stallions. hloody.travail Of tides awash the pedestal of Everest. 0 Mourner. rife as the loam Of prairies. and downcast as a cup That's drained.Ghoul-mound of man's perversity at balk: And fraternal massacre! Thou.thy wand Has heat a song. of speed With vast eternity. Hermetically past condor zones. thine other hand.THE BRIDGE As thou at junctions elegiac. there heyondGlacial sierras and the flight of ravens. upward from the dead Thou bringest tally. the probable grass. 'til 37 . pallid there as chalk. That then from Appomattox stretched to Somme! Cowslip and shad-blow. 0 Walt. yet like breakers cliffward leaping! 0. is shivered hack to earth . there. new bound. Of living hrotherhood! Thou. early following thee. through zenith havens Past where the albatross has offered up His last wing-pulse.. I searched the hill roue-writ and odor·fum with violets. hloomed that spring When first I read thy lines. fail Not less than thou in pure impulse inbred To answer deepest soundings! 0.

hast thou not seen And passed that Barrier that none escapesBut knows it leastwise as death-strife?. thou set hreath in steel. And it was thou who on the boldest heel Stood up and flung the span on even wing Of that great Bridge. Familiar. Evasive .too . of love's amaze! Not greatest. our Myth. captured.as dayspring's spreading arc to trace is:Our Meistersinger. something green.. As vibrantly I following down Sequoia alleys Heard thunder's eloquence through green arcades Set trumpets breathing in each clump and grass tuft -'til Gold autumn. as mendicants in public places. And Klondike edelweiss of occult snows! White banks of moonlight came descending valleys How speechful on oak-vizored palisades. crowned the trembling hill! Panis Angelicus! Eyes tranquil with the blaze Of love's own diametric gaze.then the Pontiac rose.but near And onward yielding past my utmost year.. thou.0.THE BRIDGE With June the mountain laurel broke through green And filled the forest with what clustrous sheen! Potomac lilies. whereof I sing! Years of the Modem! Propulsions toward what capes? But thou. Panis Angelicus. nor last. thou..not first. 38 . Beyond all sesames of science was thy choice Wherewith to bind us throbbing with one voice.

yes. as launched in abysmal cupolas of space.No. never to let go Myhand in yours.how sbimmeringly standi Above the Cape's ghoul-mound.. Moot again. Parris Angelicus! Yes. they shall hear In their own veins uncancelled thy sure tread And read thee by the aureole 'round thy head Of pasture-shine. CeltThou. to the greensward knelt! And now. Toward endless terminals. Walt. Walt Whitmanso- . 0 joyous seer! Recorders ages hence.THE BRIDGE New integers of Roman. and onward without halt.- Not soon. Viking. Easters of speeding lightVast engines outward veering with seraphic grace On clarion cylinders pass out of sight To course that span of consciousness thou'st named The Open Road . nor suddenly. Vedic Caesar.thy vision is reclaimed! What heritage thou'st signalled to our hands! And see! the rainbow's arch .

simian Venus. you? I Whatever caIl.trailed derision! 40 . the other Abydos hight.falls vainly on the wave.vaporous scars! Eve! Magdalene! or Mary. -MARLOWE SOUTHERN CROSS WAN TED you. iridescent Furrow of all our travel.as still more alone The Southern Cross takes night And lifts her girdles from her. but utterly . No wraith. nameless Woman of the South. homeless Eve. Finally to answer all within one grave! o And this long wake of phosphor. one by one High. Unwedded.v THREE SONGS The one Sestos. cool. wide from the slowly smoldering fire Of lower heavens. stumbling gardenless to grieve Windswept guitars on lonely decks forever.

THE BRIDGE

Eyes crumble at its kiss. Its long-drawn spell Incites a yell. Slid on that backward vision The mind is churned to spittle, whispering hell. I wanted you ••• The embers of the Cross Climbed by aslant and huddling aromatically. It is blood to remember; it is fire To stammer back ••• It is God - your namelessness. And the washAll night the water combed you with black Insolence. You crept out simmering, accomplished. Water rattled that stinging coil, your Rehearsed hair - docile, alas, from many arms. Yes, Eve - wraith of my unloved seed! The Cross, a phantom, huckled - dropped below the dawn.. Light drowned the lithic trillions of your spawn.

41

THE BRIDGE

NATIONAL WINTER GARDEN

Ou T SP 0 KEN buttocks in pink beads
Invite the necessary cloudy clinch Of bandy eyes•••• No extra mufflings here: The world's one flagrant, sweating cinch. And while legs waken salads in the brain You pick your blonde out neatly through the smoke. Always you wait for someone else though, always(Then rush the nearest exit through the smoke). Always and last, before the final ring When all the fireworks blare, begins A tom-tom scrimmage with a somewhere violin, Some cheapest echo of them all-begins. And shall we call her whiter than the snow? Sprayed:first with ruby, then with emerald sheenLeast tearful and least glad (who knows her smile?) A caught slide shows her sandstone grey between. Her eyes exist in swivellings of her teats, Pearls whip her hips, a drench of whirling strands. Her silly snake rings begin to mount, surmount Each other - turquoise fakes on tinselled hands.

We wait that writhing pool, her pearls collapsed, - All but her belly buried in the floor;

42

THE BRIDGE

And the lewd trounce of a final muted heat! We flee her spasm through a. fleshless door•••• Yet, to the empty trapeze of your Hesh, o Magdalene, each comes hack to die alone. Then you, the hurlesque of our lust - and faith, Lug us hack lifeward - hone hy infant hone.

THE BRIDCE

VIRGINIA

at seven, Pay-check at eleven Keep smiling the boss away, Mary (what are you going to do?) Gone seven - gone eleven, And I'm still waiting you RAIN

o

o blue-eyed Mary with the claret scarf,
Saturday Mary, mine! It's high carillon From the popcorn bells! Pigeons by the million And Spring in Prince Street Where green figs gleam By oyster shells!

o Mary, leaning from the high wheat tower,
Let down your golden hair! High in the noon of May On cornices of daffodils The slender violets stray. Crap-shooting gangs in Bleecker reign, Peonies with pony manes Forget-me-nots at windowpanes: Out of the way-up nickel-dime tower shine, Cathedral Mary, shine!-

44

. stalk down the merriest ghost.•• While we who press the cider mill. The mapltls loom is red. ponderous and unooy . 45 . regarding themWe. -ISADORA DUNCAN The gentian weaves her fringes. suecess/ul on tAu efITth. And they are awkward. ourselves. Shifting reprisals ('til who shall tell us when The jest is too sharp to he kindly?) boast Much of our store of faith in other men Who would. They keep that docile edict of the Spring That blends March with August Antarctic skies: These are but cows that see no other thing Than grass and snow. But no itleols have ever been fuJl. and their own inner being Through the rich halo that they do not trouble Even to cast upon the seasons fleeting Though they should thin and die on last year"s stubble.VI QUAKER HILL I Bee orrly the ideal. retarding phlegm. -BUlLY DICKINSON PERSPECTIVE never withers from their eyes.. who with pledges taste the bright annoy Of friendship's acid wine.

What cunning neighbors history has in :fine! The woodlouse mortgages the ancient deal Table that Powitzky buys for only nine- 46 . Here three hours from the semaphores.THE BRIDGE Above them old Mizzentop. the Czars Of golf. But I have seen death's stare in slow survey From four horizons that no one relates ••• Weekenders avid of their turf-won scores. and still it is 'To the persuasive suburban land agent In bootleg roadhouses where the gin fizz Bubbles in time to Hollywood's new love-nest pageant Fresh from the radio in the old Meeting House (Now the New Avaion Hotel) volcanoes roar A welcome to highsteppers that no mouse Who saw the Friends there ever heard before.• See them.floor by floor to cinquefoil dormer Portholes the ceilings stack their stoic height. Long tiers of windows staring out toward former Faces -loose panes crown the hill and gleam At sunset with a silent. cancelled reservations! High from the central cupola. they say One's glance could cross the borders of three states. This was the Promised Land. palatial white Hostelry . like eyes that still uphold some dream Through mapled vistas. by twos and threes in plaid plusfours Alight with sticks ahristle and cigars. cobwebbed patience •.

That triple-noted clause of moonlightYes. humbly as a guest who knows himself too late.ve at Adams' auction. while the heart is wrong.THE BRIDGE Ty-:fi.. transmuting silence with that stilly note Of pain that Emily. Dead rangers bled their comfort on the snow. take this sheaf of dust upon your tongue! In one last angelus lift throbbing throatListen. yet yields That patience that is annour and that shields 47 . unhusks the heart of fright. Wait for the postman driving from Birch Hill With birthright by blackmail. Must we descend as worm's eye to construe Our love of all we touch.. and take it to the Gate .. His news already told? Yes. the arrant page That unfolds a new destiny to fill. So. The spinster polish of antiquity ••• Who holds the lease on time and on disgrace? What eats the pattern with ubiquity? Where are my kinsmen and the patriarch race? The resigned factions of the dead preside.. breaks the heart. Breaks us and saves. But I must ask slain Iroquois to guide Me farther than scalped Yankees knew to go: Shoulder the curse of sundered parentage. Arise .k. yes.eats the seal.yes. that Isadora knew! While high from dim elmooehancels hung with dew. must we from the hawk's far stemming view. whip-poor-will.

THE BRIDGE Love from despair .when love foresees the endLeaf after autumnal leaf break off. descenddescend- 48 .

You'll find the garden in the third act dead. -BLA. As usua4 let you .THE TUNNEL . VII To F. PER FOR MAN C E S.and wish yourself in bed With tabloid crime--sheets perched in easy sight. Refractions of the thousand theatres.nd the ". Some day by heart you'll learn each famous sight And watch the curtain lift in hell's despite.estern path Right thril the Gates of 11'Talk. Or can't you quite make up your mind to ride.B:E assortments. A walk is better underneath the L a brisk Ten blocks or so before? But you find yourself 49 .also walking down . facesMysterious kitchens•••• You shall search them all. resumesUp Times Square to Columbus Circle lights Channel the congresses. to twelve upward leaving a subscription praise for what time slays. Then let you reach your hat and go. Finger your knees . nightly sessions.exclaim.

As usual you will meet the scuttle yawn: The subway yawns the quickest promise home.THE BRIDGE Preparing penguin flexions of the arms. the Circle burning bright Avoid the glass doors gyring at your right. eyes take fright . The gongs already rattle.the girls all shaping up .on the Fourth of Julylike a pigeon's muddy dream . This answer lives like verdigris. rivered under streets and rivers•••• In the car the overtone of motion underground. Where boxed alone a second.toonight after night .Quite unprepared nIsh naked back to light: And down beside the turnstile press the coin Into the slot. like hair 50 .the Culver line . And so of cities you bespeak subways. then. to swim the hiving swarms Out of the Square. Be minimum.potatoes to dig in the field . the monotone of motion is the sound of other faces.it used to be-" Our tongues recant like beaten weather vanes.travlin the town . also underground"Let's have a pencil Jimmy -living now at Floral Park FIatbush .

THE BRIDGE Beyond extinction. why didja swing on it anyhow-" And somehow anyhow swingThe phonographs of hades in the brain Are tunnels that re-wind themselves.g from the swollen. surcease of the bone.if you don't like my gate why did you swing on it.after the show she cried a little afterwards but-" Wliose head is swingio. Bursts from a smoldering bundle far behind In back forks of the chasms of the brain.Puffs from a riven stump far out behind In interborough fissures of the mind ••• ? 51 .IS THIS FOURTEENTH? it's half past six she said . strap? Whose body smokes along the hitten rails. And repetition freezes -"What ''what do you want? getting weak on the links? fandaddle daddy don't ask for change . and love A burnt match skating in a urinalSomewhere above Fourteenth TAKE THE EXPRESS To brush some new presentiment of pain "But I want service in this office SERVICE I said .

Taking the final level for the dive Under the riverAnd somewhat emptier than before. Demented. umbrellas.. Your trembling hands that night through BaltimoreThat last night on the ballot rounds. The platform hurries along to a dead stop. then Bolting outright somewhere above where streets Burst suddenly in rain •••• The gongs recur: Elbows and levers. did you Shaking. Blank windows gargle signals through the roar. bending to a scream. humps.THE BRIDGE And why do I often meet your visage here. The car Wheels off. And did their eyes like unwashed platters ride? And Death. Thunder is galvothermic here below•••. 0 evermore! And when they dragged your retching flesh. guard and hissing door. revolve and wing. each eye attending its shoe.gigantically down Probing through you . Poe? For Gravesend Manor change at Chambers Street. Your eyes like agate lanterns .And did their riding eyes right through your side. for a hitching second. The train rounds.toward me. did you deny the ticket. then Lets go•. aloft.•• Toward comers of the floor Newspapers wing. 52 . The intent escalator lifts a serenade Stilly Of shoes.on and on Below the toothpaste and the dandruff ads? .

one after one. and pack The conscience navelled in the plunging wind.Or the mufBed slaughter of a day in birtho cruelly to inoculate the brinking dawn With anteIlIlre toward worlds that glow and sink. with the bandaged hair? Mter the corridors are swept.To spoon us out more liquid than the dim. Lunged past.A sound of waters bending astride the sky Unceasing with some Word that will not die ••• ! A tugboat. Condensed. And yet. to feel the slope. o Genoese. the cuspidors The gaunt sky-barracks cleanly now.THE BRIDGE And does the Dremon take you home. and bare. Umbilical to call. Kiss of our agony thou gatherest. demurring and eventful yawn! Whose hideous laughter is a bellows mirth .-lifting ground. thou takest all. like Lazarus. * 53 . with one galvanic blare stove up the River. also.shrill ganglia Impassioned with some song we fail to keep. The sod and billow breaking.and straightway die! o caught like pennies beneath soot and steam. 1 counted the echoes assembling. wheezing wreaths of steam. do you bring mother eyes and hands Back home to children and to golden hair? Dremon. . Locution of the eldest star. Wop washerwoman.

to die? Kiss of our agony Thou gatherest. 0 my City. Lights. I have driven under. thumbing the midnight on the piers. And this thy harbor. Shadowless in that abyss they unaccounting lie. Tossed from the coil of ticking towers •••• Tomorrow. left the oily tympanum of waters. And to be. coasting. How far away the star has pooled the seaOr shall the hands he drawn away.•• Here hy the River that is EastHere at the waters' edge the hands drop memory. Hand of Fire gatherest- o 54 .THE BRIDGE Searching. The blackness somewhere gouged glass on a sky..

Up the index of night.••• And through that cordage. moveless soundings hailed. veering with light. the arching path Upward. embankments. telepathy of wires.Heckless the gleaming stavesSibylline voices Hicker.VIII ATLANTIS Music is then the knowledge of t1ua willieh relates to love in Mnrumr and srstem."Make thy love sure-to weave whose song we plyl" .From black.Taut miles of shuttling moonlight syncopate The whispered rush. -PLATO T H R 0 UGH the bottnd cable strands. waveringly stream As though a god were issue of the strings. granite and steelTransparent meshes . the Hight of strings. And on. So seven oceans answer from their dream. obliquely up bright carrier bars New octaves trestle the twin monoliths Beyond whose frosted capes the moon bequeaths 55 . threading with its call One arc synoptic of all tides belowTheir labyrinthine mouths of history Pouring reply as though all ships at sea Complighted in one vibrant breath made cry.

through smoking pyres of love and death. lifting night to cycloramic crest Of deepest day. sharply up the long anvil cry Of inchling reons silence rivets Troy. aloft there . Sheerly the eyes.Jason! hesting Shout! Still wrapping harness to the swarming air! Silvery the rushing wake. palladium helm of stars. Like hails. recast 56 . upward ring With silver terraces the humming spars. farewells -up planet-sequined heights Some trillion whispering hammers glimmer Tyre: Serenely.THE BRIDGE Two worlds of sleep (0 arching strands of song!)Onward and up the crystal-Hooded aisle White tempest nets file upward. like seagulls stung with rimeSlit and propelled by glistening fins of lightPick hiting way up towering looms that press Sidelong with Hight of hlade on tendon blade .0 Choir. And you. Tall Vision-of-the-Voyage. surpassing call.and link What cipher-script of time no traveller reads But who. tensely spareBridge. The loft of vision.Tomorrows into yesteryear . terrible of drums. Beams yelling lEolus! splintered in the straits! From gulfs unfolding. Searches the timeless laugh of mythic spears. translating time Into what multitudinous Verb the suns And synergy of waters ever fuse.

iridescently upborne Through the bright drench and fabric of our veins. indubitable frieze Of heaven's meditation. With white escarpments swinging into light.Eyes stammer through the pangs of dust and steel And still the circular. hearing com.Psalm of Cathay! o Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits The agile precincts of the lark's retum. pervasive Paradigm ••• ! We left the haven hanging in the nightSheened harbor lanterns backward fled the keel. 0 Thou 57 . yoking wave To kneeling wave. Forever Deity's glittering Pledge. sound and flesh Thou leadest from time's realm As love strikes clear direction for the helm. Swift peal of secular light.o River-throated . Within whose lariat sweep encinctured sing In single chrysalis the many twain. thy white.. intrinsic Myth Whose fell unshadow is death's utter wound..Of stars Thou art the stitch and stallion glow And like an organ. with sound of doomSight. Pacific here at time's end. Sustained in tears the cities are endowed And justified conclamant with ripe fields Revolving through their harvests in sweet tannent.THE BRIDGE o Love. Thou. one song devoutly binds The vernal strophe chimes from deathless stringsl In myriad syllables.

Anemone. Now pity steeps the grass and rainbows ring The serpent with the eagle in the leaves •. Inventions that cobblestone the heart. 58 .hold thy floating singer late! o So to thine Everpresence. Deity's young name Kinetic of white choiring wings ••• ascends. Sidereal phalanxes. leap and converge: ...Unspeakable Thou Bridge to Thee.Always through blinding cables. hold (0 Thou whose radiance doth inherit me) Atlantis. one Bridge of Fire! Is it Cathay. Thy pardon for this history.the orphic strings. Migrations that must needs void memory. whitest Flower. 0 Love. beyond time. Like spears ensanguined of one tolling star That bleeds infinity . to our joy.Now while thy petals spend the suns about us.THE BRIDGE Whose canticle fresh chemistry assigns To rapt inception and beatitude.One Song. Of thy white seizure springs the prophecy: Always through spiring cordage. Answerer of all. pyramids Of silver sequel.. ? Whispers antiphonal in azure swing.

.I. f ...''' .... . ••••• c...1 .·' ....-.\..'..'~ " .." . · . . .r·.~ ."".. ~ .. '" . ~ l ¥ • \-. • .'~..

t. en -RIMBAUD . fin. au l1umae.TWO· WHITE BUILDINGS Ce ne peut etre que la avangan.

TO WALDO FRANK .

Nor to match regrets. I am not ready for repentance. And tremorous In the white falling flakes Kisses are.The only worth all granting. Until the bright logic is won Unwhispering as a mirror Is believed. For the moth Bends no more than the still Imploring flame.LEGEND A s silent as a mirror is believed Realities plunge in silence by ... Twice and twice (Again the smoking souvenir. 61 . It is to be learned This cleaving and this burning. Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again. But only by the one who Spends out himself again.

drop hy caustic drop. a perfect cry Shall string some constant harmony.WHITE BUILDINGS Then.Relentless caper for all those who step The legend of their youth into the noon. .

BLACK TAMBOURINE THE interests of a black man in a cellar Mark tardy judgment on the world's closed door. forlorn in the cellar. And. stuck on the wall. a carcass quick with flies. Gnats toss in the shadow of a bottle. And a roach spans a crevice in the floor. dark. Between his tambourine. ]Esop. that lies. Wanders in some mid·kingdom. driven to pondering. found Heaven with the tortoise and the hare. . The black man. Fox brush and sow ear top his grave And mingling incantations on the air. in Mrica.

But only to build memories of spiritual gates. Orators follow the universe And radio the complete laws to the people. By . While the apostle gave Alms to the meek the volcano burst With sulphur and aureate rocks ••• For joy rides in stupendous coverings Luring the living into spiritual gates. Bowls and cups fill historians with adorations. By that time summer and smoke were past.Dull lips commemorating spiritual gates. The wanderer later chose this spot of rest Where marble clouds support the sea And where was finally borne a chosen hero. Dolphins still played. The apostle conveys thought through discipline. arching the horizons.EMBLEMS OF CONDUCT a peninsula the wanderer sat and sketched The uneven valley graves.

Over the greatness of such space Steps must be gentle. That have been pressed so long Into a comer of the roof That they are brown and soft. It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air. There is even room enough For the letters of my mother's mother. It is all hung by an invisible white hair. And liable to melt as snow. Yet how much room for memory there is In the loose girdle of soft rain. THE R E And I ask myself: "Ate your fingers long enough to play Old keys that are but echoes: 65 .MY GRANDMOTHER'S LOVE LETTERS are no stars to-night But those of memory. Elizabeth.

And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.WHITE BUILDINGS Is the silence strong enough To carry hack the music to its source And hack to you again As though to her?" Yet I would lead my grandmother hy the hand Through much of what she would not understand. .

Their own perennials of light In the valley where you live (called Brandywine). her purple shadow Bursting on the winter of the world From whiteness that cries defiance to the snow. I have seen the apples there that toss you secrets.Beloved apples of seasonable madness That feed your inquiries with aerial wine. the apples! 61 . A hoy runs with a dog before the sun. straddling Spontaneities that form their independent orbits. And poise them full and ready for explosion~e apples. But now there are challenges to spring In that ripe nude with head reared Into a realm of swords. Put them again beside a pitcher with a knife. Bill.SUNDAY MORNING APPLES TO WILLIAM SOMMER THE leaves will fall again sometime and fill The fleece of nature with those purposes That are your rich and faithful strength of line.

I cannot see that broken brow 68 . the laughter. The insistent clock commented on. delivered to me From the white coverlet and pillow. having in mind gold hair. Touching as well upon our praise Of glories proper to the time. Still. And such assessments of the soul As. The slant moon on the slanting hill Once moved us toward presentiments Of what the dead keep. of Gargantua. His thoughts. I see now. perched in the crematory lobby.PRAISE FOR AN URN IN MEMORIAM: ERNEST NELSON JT was a kind and northern face That mingled in such exile guise The everlasting eyes of Pierrot And. were inheritancesDelicate riders of the storm. living still.

Scatter these well-meant idioms Into the smoky spring that fills The suburbs.WHITE BUILDINGS And miss the dry sound of bees Stretching across a lucid space. They are no trophies of the sun. . where they will be lost.

Holding her to the sky and its quick hlue. blurs her eyes. Drowning the fever of her hands in sunlight. She is prisoner of the tree and its green fingers. mimic of the sun. And so she comes to dream herself the tree. THE 70 .GARDEN ABSTRACT apple on its hough is her desire.Shining suspension. weaving her young veins. She has no memory. nor hope Beyond the grass and shadows at her feet. Dumbly articulate in the slant and rise Of branch on hranch above her. nor fear. and her voice. The bough has caught her breath up. The wind possessing her.

STARK MAJOR THE lover's death. It is the time of sundering ••• Beneath the green silk counterpane Her mound of undelivered life Lies cool upon her . while you Still answering her faint good~byes.not yet pain. beyond her door. 71 . And she will wake before you pass. how regular With lifting spring and starker Vestiges of the sun that somehow Filter in to us before we waken. Scarcely aloud. Not yet is there that heat and sober Vivisection of more clamant air That hands joined in the dark will answer Mter the daily circuits of its glare. And every third step down the stair Until you reach the mufHed floorWill laugh and call your name.

Henceforth her memory is more Than yours. in cries. in ecstasies You cannot ever reach to share. Walk now. only to look At doors and stone with broken eyes. 72 . and note the lover's death.WHITE BUILDINGS Will find the street.

in a way. and know Recesses for it from the fury of the street. Or warm tom elbow coverts. We can evade you. For we can still love the world. We will sidestep. Our obsequies are. and all else but the heart: What blame to us if the heart live on. who find A famished kitten on the step. and to the final smirk Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb That slowly chafes its puckered index toward uSt Facing the dull squint with what innocence And what surprise! And yet these fine collapses are not lies More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane.CHAPLINESQUE WE make our meek adjustments. Contented with such random consolations As the wind deposits In slithered and too ample pockets. no enterprise. .

WHITE BUILDINGS The game enforces smirks. 74 . And through all sound of gaiety and quest Have heard a kitten in the wilderness. hut we have seen The moon in lonely alleys make A grail of laughter of an empty ash can.

dusty. The wind Takes rein. I hear An image beyond this Already fallen harvest. I can only query. "FoolHave you remembered too long. A few picked. the rest dead?" 75 .PASTORALE 0 more violets. Or was there too little said For ease or resolution Summer scarcely begun And violets. And the year Broken into smoky panels. What woods remember now Her calls. her enthusiasms? N That ritual of sap and leaves The sun drew out. Ends in this latter mufHed Bronze and hrass. If.

fall.then withdrawing. a pale halloon. in shadow swims. She hears my step hehind the green Twilight. Gently yet suddenly. Like a waiting moon.too late To risk alone the light's decline: Nor has the evening long to wait. OUT 76 .IN SHADOW in the late amber afternoon.. Her parasol. Her furtive lace and misty hair Over the garden dial distill The sunlight. it is too late. the sheen Of stars inwraps her parasol. Confused among chrysanthemums. wear Again the shadows at her will. stiller than shadows."But her own words are night's and mine. "Come..

So. Seldom. while fresh sunlight splinters humid green I have known myself a nephew to confusions That sometimes take up residence and reign In crowns less grey . is to follow The zigzags fast around dry lips composed To darkness through a wreath of sudden pain.THE FERNERY THE lights that travel on her spectacles now. as you may chance to lift a shade Beside her and her fernery. But turning.0 merciless tidy hair! . meet a mirror in her eyes.

no death. "Has no one come here to win you. 0 Darkly Bright?" Cold-hushed. no time nor sun In answer. Flings itself silently Into eternity. 78 .NORTH LABRADOR A LA N D of leaning ice Hugged by plaster-grey arches of sky. there is only the shifting of moments That journey toward no SpringNo birth. Or left you with the faintest blush Upon your glittering breasts? Have you no memories.

REPOSE OF RIVERS willows carried a slow sound. Mter the city that I finally passed With scalding unguents spread and smoking darts . The pond I entered once and quickly fledI remember now its singing willow rim. And finally. weeds.•• How much I would have hartered! the hlack gorge And all the singular nestings in the hills Where heavers learn stitch and tooth. A sarabande the wind mowed on the mead. while sun-silt rippled them Asunder . steady leveling of the marshes Till age had brought me to the sea. And mammoth turtles climbing sulphur dreams Yielded. THE 79 . And remembrance of steep alcoves Where cypresses shared the noon's Tyranny. they drew me into hades almost. Flags. in that memory all things nurse. I could never remember That seething.

beyond the dyke'3 I heard wind flaking sapphire. And willows could not hold more steady sound. like this summer.WHITE BUILDINGS The monsoon cut across the delta At gulf gates ••• There. 80 .

. already Hollowed by air. when stunned in that antarctic hlaze. Your head. how faint the crow's cavil As. posts a white paraphrase Among hruised roses on the papered wall.PARAPHRASE a steady winking beat between Systole. Involves the hands in purposeless repose. Above the feet the clever sheets Lie guard upon the integers of life: For what skims in hetween uncurls the toe. 81. But from its hracket how can the tongue tell OF When systematic morn shall sometime Hood The pillow . unrocking to a pulse. .how desperate is the light That shall not rouse. diastole spokes-of-a-wheel One rushing from the bed at night May find the record wedged in his souI.

I know the screen. still trenchant in a void.. In Bleecker Street. WITNESS Accumulate such moments to an hour: Account the total of this trembling tabulation.. take up the stone As quiet as you can make a man •. Wounded by apprehensions out of speech. :And I. I hold it up against a disk of light- 82 . that stays As though prepared. entering.sifting One moment in sacrifice (the direst) Through a thousand nights the flesh Assaults outright for bolts that linger Hidden. ready to hand . the distant Hying taps And stabbing medley that sways And the mercy. feminine.0 undirected as the sky That through its black foam has no eyes For this fixed stone of lust ••.POSSESSIONS now this trust! the rain That steals softly direction And the key.

the inclusive cloud Whose heart is fire shall come. who bleeding dies. Lacks all but piteous admissions to be spilt the Upon page whose blind sum finally burns Record of rage and partial appetites.WHITE BUILDINGS I. turning on smoked forking spires.. The city's stubborn lives. desires. . Tossed on these horns. The pure possession. turning.the white wind raze All but bright stones wherein our smiling plays.

.worma' 84 .recall To music and retrieve what perjuries Had galvanized the eyes. And the nights opening Chant pyramids.LACHRYMAE CHRISTI WHITELY. while benzine Rinsings from the moon Dissolve all but the windows of the mills (Inside the sure machinery Is still And curdled only where a. From Hanks unfended.Anoint with innocence. Twanged red perfidies of spring Are trillion on the hill. and swart Thoms freshen on the year's First blood.. sill Sluices its one unyielding smile) Immaculate venom binds The fox's teeth. While chime Beneath and all around Distilling clemencies.

vermin and rod No longer bind. Unstanched and luminous.) Names peeling from Thine eyes And their undimming lattices of flame. And as the nights Strike from Thee perfect spheres. Thy Unmangled target smile. Lean long from sable. Lift up in lilac-emerald breath the grail Of earth againThy face From charred and riven stakes. 0 Nazarene. tunneling Not penitence But song. Some sentient cloud Of tears flocks through the tendoned loam: Betrayed stones slowly speak. vines. slender boughs. 0 Dionysus. Spell out in palm and pain Compulsion of the year.WHITE BUILDINGS Inaudible whistle.Thy Nazarene and tinder eyes. as these Perpetual fountains. (Let sphinxes from the ripe Borage of death have cleared my tongue Once and again. 85 .

See where the red and hlack Vine-stanchioned valleys -": hut the wind Died speaking through the ages that you know And hug. Sulking. In sapphire arenas of the hills I was promised an improved infancy. congregates pears In moonlit bushels And wakens alleys with a hidden cough. "It is not long. The shadows of houlders lengthened my hack: In the bronze gongs of my cheeks The rain dried without odour. Aprons rocks. sanctioning the sun.PASSAGE W HER E the cedar leaf divides the sky I heard the sea. My memory I left in a ravine. Dangerously the summer burned (I had joined the entrainments of the wind).Casual louse that tissues the buckwheat. chimney-so~ted heart of man! 86 . it is not long.

"Why are you back here . And from the Ptolemies Sand troughed us in a glittering abyss. The evening was a spear in the ravine That throve through very oak.smiling an iron coffin?" "To argue with the laurel. What fountains did I hear? what icy speeches? Memory." He closed the book. 87 . I found A thief beneath. committed to the page. A serpent swam a vertex to the sun . much as your smoke Compiles a too well·known biography. fleeing Under the constant wonder of your eyes -.On unpaced beaches leaned its tongue and drummed.WHITE BUILDINGS So was I turned about and back." I replied: "Am justified in transience. had broke. my stolen book in hand. And had I walked The dozen particular decimals of time? Touching an opening laurel.

A leopard ranging always in the brow Asserts a vision in the slumbering gaze. unmake an instant of the world ••• What is it in this heap the serpent priesWhose skin.THE WINE MENAGERIE I N VARIA B L Y when wine redeems the sight. sapphire transepts round the eyes. Slow Applause flows into liquid cynosures: . manure) Regard the forceps of the smile that takes her. And as the alcove of her jealousy recedes 88 . . Her eyes. coal. eggs. Then glozening decanters that reflect the street Wear me in crescents on their bellies. Against the imitation onyx wainscoting (Painted emulsion of snow.From whom some whispered carillon assures Speed to the arrow into feathered skies? Sharp to the window-pane guile drags a face. Mallets. unskeins Octagon.I am conscripted to their shadows' glow. Percussive sweat is spreading to his hair. Narrowing the mustard scansions of the eyes. yam. facsimile of time.

"Rise from the dates and crumbs.Anguished. transept. new anatomies! Wine talons Build freedom up about me and distill This competence . Stepping over Holofernes' shins- 89 . coins some squint. within another's will. Until my blood dreams a receptive smile Wherein new purities are snared. where chimes Before some:6ame of galUlt repose a shell Tolled once. perhaps. How much yet meets the treason of the snow.to travel in a tear Sparkling alone. Unwitting the stigma that each tum repeals: Between black tusks the roses shine! New thresholds. by every tongue in helL . minting their separate willsPoor streaked bodies wreathing up and out. And walk away. the wit that cries out of me: "AIas. the tooth implicit of the world Has followed you..WHITE BUILDINGS An urchin who has left the snow Nudges a cannister across the bar While August meadows somewhere clasp his brow. Each chamber. Though in the end you know And count some dim inheritance of sand. Remorseless line.these frozen hillows of your skill! Invent new dominoes of love and hile ••• Ruddy.

whose severed head floats hy With Baptist 10hn's.WHITE BUILDINGS Beyond the wall." 90 . Their whispering hegins.And fold your exile on your hack again. Petrushka's valentine pivots on its pin. " .

Defer though. how can you bear! Twin shadowed halves: the brealdng second holds In each the skin alone. falls away. Let the same nameless guH beleaguer us Alike suspend us from atrocious sums Built floor by floor on shafts of steel that grant The plummet heart. And gradually white buildings answer day. Then watch While darkness. no stream. Its drums and darkest blowing leaves ignore. like Absalom. like an ape's face.. revocation of the tears That yield attendance to one crucial sign. Such Reciting pain or glee. As double at search or rest you cannotglass. and brother in the haH. and so it is I crust a plate of vibrant mercury Borne cleft to you.how the wind feasts and spins The brain's disk shivered against lust.RECITATIVE REGARD the capture here. as the hands that twist this eyes see. 0 Janus-faced. Inquire this much-exacting fragment smile. 91 . Look steadily .

.. The bridge swings over salvage. A wind abides the ensign of your will ••• In alternating hells have you not heard All hours clapped dense into a single stride? Forgive me for an echo of these things.WHITE BUILDINGS The highest tower. beyond wharves.yet leave the tower. And let us walk through time with equal pride.-let her ribs palisade Wrenched gold of Nineveh.

FOR THE MARRIAGE OF FAUSTUS AND HELEN "And so we ma:y arrive by Talmud skill And profane Greek to raise the building up OJ Helen's house agamst the Ismaelite. Convoying divers dawns on every comer To druggist. cool. accent the curhs. hasehall scores. harber and tobacconist. rebuffed hy asphalt. crowd The margins of the day. A. and the force Of King Abaddon. less fragmentary. and the beast of C~ttim. The stenographic smiles and stock quotations Smutty wings flash out equivocations. Across the stacked partitions of the day Across the memoranda.nd A. Numbers. Until the graduat~ opacities of evening Take them away as suddenly to somewhere Virginal perhaps.ben Ezra do interpret Rome. and his habergeons Brimstony. Onkelos. blue and fiery. 93 ." -THE ALCHEMIST I THE mind has shown itself at times Too much the haked and labeled dough Divided hy accepted multitudes. Rabb~ Which David Kimchi. The mind is hrushed by spartow wings. King of Thogarma.

Then I might find your eyes across an aisle. or offers words Lightly as moonlight on the eaves meets snow. when ecstasies thread The limbs and helly.-lost yet poised in traffic. to touch Those hands of yours that count the nights Stippled with pink and green advertisem~nts. Still flickering with those prefigurations Prodigal. There is some way. And now. Imminent in his dream. Reflective conversion of all things At your deep blush. Half-riant before the jerky window frame. But if I lift my arms it is to bend 94 . the body of the world Weeps in inventive dust for the hiatus That winks above it. none hetter knows The white wafer cheek of love. hluet in your breasts. when rainbows spread Impinging on the throat and sides ••• Inevitable. yet got by that way Without recall. I would have you meet this bartered hlood. before its arteries tum dark. The earth may glide diaphanous to death. yet uncontested now. I think.WHITE BUILDINGS There is the world dimensional for those untwisted by the love of things irreconcilable ••• And yet. suppose some evening I forgot The fare and transfer.

in that eventual flame You found in final chains. Accept a lone eye riveted to your plane. 95 . through white cities passed on to assume That world which comes to each of us alone. glowing orh of praise. Helen. too alternate With steel and soil to hold you endlessly. hloodshot eyes. therefore. Bent axle of devotion along companion ways That heat. knowing The press of troubled hands. White. I meet you.WHITE BUILDINGS To you who turned away once. to hourless days One inconspicuous. no captive thenBeyond their million hrittle. continuous.

plaintively scud past shores Where. we are breathless While nigger clilpids scour the stars! BRAZEN A thousand light shrugs balance us Through snarling hails of melody. Greet naively . Sit rocked in patent armchairs. This crashing opera houffe.WHITE BUILDINGS II hypnotics glitter here. Rhythmic ellipses lead into canters Until somewhere a rooster banters.yet intrepidly New soothings. Glee shifts from foot to foot. by strange harmonic laws All relatives. Or. 96 . Olympians. new amazements That comets introduce at every tum And you may fall downstairs with me With perfect grace and equanimity. White shadows slip across the :Boor Splayed like cards from a loose hand. Blest excursion! this ricochet From roof to roofKnow. Magnetic to their tremolo. serene and cool.

Dipping here in this cultivated storm Among slim skaters of the gardened skies. While titters hailed the groans of death Beneath gyrating awnings I have seen The incunabula of the divine grotesque. The siren of the springs of guilty song Let us take her on the incandescent wax Striated with nuances.WHITE BUILDINGS 0. I have known metallic paradises Where cuckoos clucked to finches Above the deft catastrophes of drums. . This music has a reassuring way. We cannot frown upon her as she smiles. nervosities That we are heir to: she is still so young.

98 . And in other ways than as the wind settles On the smeen thrifty bridges of the city: Let us unbind our throats of fear and pity. the nimble blue plateaus.You. naked of steel. spouting malice Plangent over meadows.no hypogeum Of wave or rock was good against one hour. and looked down On rifts of tom and empty houses Like old women with teeth unjubilant That waited faintly. religious gunman! Who faithfully. yourself.WHITE BUILDINGS In CAP P E D arbiter of beauty in this street That narrows darkly into motor dawn. The mounted. Who drove speediest destruction In corymbulous formations of mechanics. here beside me.Who hurried the hill breezes. will fall too soon. yielding cities of the air! That saddled sky that shook down vertical Repeated play of :fire . our flesh remembers The tensile boughs. delicate ambassador Of intricate slain numbers that arise In whispers. eternal gunman. We even. briefly and in vain: We know.

vocable and prayer. Distinctly praise the years. tobacco and cologne Three-winged and gold-shod prophecies of heave The lavish heart shall always have to leaven And spread with bells and voices. Gathered the voltage of blown blood and vine. whose volatile Blamed bleeding hands extend and thresh the hei@ The imagination spans heyond despair. or the shadow of gold hair.. Outpacing bargain. o brother-thief of time. and atone The abating shadows of our conscript dust.The hands Erasmus dipped in gleaming tides. And will persist to speak again before All stubble streets that have not curved To memory. but have survived. Laugh out the meager penance of their days Who dare not share with us the breath released. 99 . The substance drilled and spent beyond repair For golden. A goose. known the ominous lifted arm or That lowers down the arc of Helen's brow To saturate with blessing and dismay. dripping of the sea. Delve upward for the new and scattered wine.WHITE BUILDINGS We did not ask for that. that we recall. Anchises' navel.

quadrant and sextant contrive No farther tides ••• High in the azure steeps Monody shall not wake the mariner. The portent wound in corridors of shells. wide from this ledge The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath An embassy. And silent answers crept across the stars. 100 . And wrecks passed without sound of bells. This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps. Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured. Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled. Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars. Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil. Compass. Their numbers as he watched.AT MELVILLE'S TOMB OF TEN beneath the wave. The calyx of death's bounty giving back A scattered chapter. livid hieroglyph.

And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed Gaily digging and scattering. but there is a line You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast. Fondle your shells and sticks. o 101 . The waves fold thunder on the sand. The bottom of the sea is cruel. They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks. ABO And in answer to their treble interjections The sun beats lightning on the waves. frisk with your dog.VOYAGES I V E the fresh ruHles of the surf Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand. bleached By time and the elements. And could they hear me I would tell them: brilliant kids.

The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends As her demeanors motion well or ill. 0 my Prodigal. Complete the dark confessions her veins spell. death.WHITE BUILDINGS II yet this great wink of eternity. Of rimless floods. unfettered leewardings. And onward.sleep. And hasten while her penniless rich palms Pass superscription of hent foam and wave. while they are true. AND Take this Sea. whose diapason knells On scrolls of silver snowy sentences.Adagios of islands. Samite sheeted and processioned where Her undinal vast helly moonward hends.Hasten. In these poinsettia meadows of her tides.. desire. Mark how her tuming shoulders wind the hours. Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love. 102 . All but the pieties of lovers' hands. as hells off San Salvador Salute the crocus lustres of the stars. Close round one instant in one floating flower.

WHITE BUILDINGS Bind us in time. Bequeath us to no earthly shore until Is answered in the vortex of our grave The seal's wide spindrift gaze toward paradise. 0 Seasons ciear. and awe. o 103 . minstrel galleons of Carib fire.

admitted through black swollen gates That must arrest all distance otherwise. Permit me voyage. also. Star kissing star through wave on wave unto Your hody rocking! and where death. if shed. but this single change.Past whirling pillars and lithe pediments. into your hands ••• I NFl NIT E 104 .Upon the steep floor flung from dawn to dawn The silken skilled transmemberment of song. And so. Presumes no carnage. Light wrestling there incessantly with light. love. reliquary hands. whereto this hour The sea lifts. While ribboned water lanes I wind Are laved and scattered with no stroke Wide from your side.WHITE BUILDINGS III consanguinity it bears This tendered theme of you that light Retrieves from sea plains where the sky Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones.

I know. (from palms to the severe Chilled albatross's white immutability) No stream of greater love advancing now Than. this mortality alone Through clay aflow immortally to you. All fragrance irrefragihly. suppose I know as spectrum of the sea and pledge Vastly now parting gulf on gulf of wings Whose circles bridge. transpiring as foreknown And widening noon within your hreast for gathering AIl bright insinuations that my years have caught 10~ . and claim Madly meeting logically in this hour And region that is ours to wreathe again. singing. smile of hours and days.WHITE BUILDINGS IV WHOSE counted. Portending eyes and lips and making told The chancel port and portion of our June- Shall they not stem and close in our own steps Bright staves of flowers and quills to-day as I Must first be lost in fatal tides to tell? In signature of the incarnate word The harbor shoulders to resign in mingling Mutual blood.

still exclaim receive The secret oar and petals of all love.WHITE BUILDINGS For islands where must lead inviolably Blue latitudes and levels of your eyes. lO6 .- In this expectant.

. Already hang. One frozen trackless smile ••• What words Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we Are overtaken. In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed Nothing so flagless as this piracy. Now no cry. shred ends from remembered stars." you say. Infrangible and lonely. past midnight in clear rime. 107 .And never to quite understand!" No. moonlight loved And changed ••• "There's Nothing like this in the world. " .As if too brittle or too clear to touch! The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed. no sword Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge. smooth as though cast Together in one merciless white bladeThe bay estuaries fleck the hard sky limits. into that godless cleft of sky Where nothing turns but dead sands flashing. Slow tyranny of moonlight.WHITE BUILDINGS v MET leu L 0 us. Knowing I cannot touch your hand and look Too.

WHITE BUILDINGS But now Draw in your head. Your breath sealed by the ghosts I do not know: Draw in your head and sleep the long way home. Your eyes already in the slant of drifting foam. alone and too tall here. lOB .

churning. .WHITE BUILDINGS VI WHER E icy and bright dungeons lift Of swimmers their lost morning eyes. Some splintered garland for the seer. Beyona siroccos harvesting The solstice thunders. And ocean rivers. Steadily as a shell secretes Its heating leagues of monotone. Like a cliff swinging or a sail F. crept away. shift Green borders under stranger skies. o rivers mingling toward the sky And harbor of the phrenix' hreast My eyes pressed black against the prow.Thy derelict and hlinded guest Waiting. unspoke. what name. afire. Or as many waters trough the sun's Red kelson past the cape's wet stone. I cannot claim: let thy waves rear More savage than the death of kings.lung in~ April's inmost day~09 .

110 .Unfolded floating dais before Which rainbows twine continual hairBelle Isle. it is. . that holds Hushed willows anchored in its glow. white echo of the oar! The imaged Word. Belle Isle.WHITE BUILDINGS Creation's blithe and petalled word To the lounged goddess when she rose Conceding dialogue with eyes That smile unsearchable repose Still fervid covenant. It is the unhetrayable reply Whose accent no farewell can know.

-BLA. Is given tlu:e 'til the breoic oj dt:y.KE . The wairy shore.THREE· KEY WEST AN ISLAND SHEAF The starry floor.

nor rib. In the moon That now has sunk I strike a single march To heaven or hades .KEY WEST HER E has my salient faith annealed me. And here is water. steel and stone! But gold was. Because these millions reap a dead conclusion Need I presume the same fruit of my bone As draws them towards a doubly mocked confusion Of apish nightmares into steel-strung stone? 0. The oar plash. Out of the valley. that do not disown me Nor claim me. and a little wind•. scarcity before.•• There is no breath of friends and no more shore Where gold has not been sold and conscience tinned. and the meteorite's white arch Concur with wrist and bicep. by Adam's spine . past the ample crib To skies impartial.to an equally frugal noon. either. 11S .

No. flower names Deliberate. Brutal necklaces of shells around each grave Squared off so carefully. Meanwhile The wind that knots itself in one great deathCoils and withdraws. And yet suppose I count these nacreous frames of tropic death. or What 114 . So syllables want hreath. suhvert And anagrammatize your name) . But where is the Captain of the doubloon isle Without a turnstile? Who hut catchword crabs Patrols the dry groins of the underhrush? What man.mourns. fertile Alheit in a stranger tongue.nor zigzag fiddler crabs Side-stilting from the path (that shift.o CARIB ISLE! THE tarantula rattling at the lily's foot Across the feet of the dead. laid in white sand Near the coral heach . gainsay death's hrittle crypt. nothing here Below the palsy that one eucalyptus lifts In wrinkled shadows . Tree names. Then To the white sand I may speak: a name.

. render my ghost Sieved upward. Let not the pilgrim see himself again For slow evisceration hound like those huge terrapin Each daybreak on the wharf. cast within its ftow. of a noon or afternoon Let :fiery blossoms clot the light.KEY WEST Is Commissioner of the mildew throughout the ambushed senses? His Carib mathematics web the eyes' baked lenses! Under the poinciana.I. Satan. white and hlack along the air Until it meets the hlue's comedian host.carbonic amulet Sere of the sun exploded in the sea. such thunder in their strain! Slagged on the hurricane .. You have given me the shell. 115 . overturned. Congeal hy afternoons here.Spiked. their hrine-caked eyes. satin and vacant.

irised.silking of shadows good underdrawers for owls. Leaves spatter dawn from emerald cloud-sprockets. come on 116 . First-plucked before and since the Flood.THE MANGO TREE LET them retum. recondite lightnings. o mister Senor missus Miss Mademoiselle with baskets Maggy. whose ripe apple-lanterns gush history.. you sun-heap. It's all like Christmas. old hypnotisms wrench the golden boughs. saying you blush again for the great Great-grandmother. Up jug to musical hanging jug just gay spiders yoked you first. Fat final prophets with lean bandits crouch: and dusk is close under your noon. When you sprouted Paradise a discard of chewinggum took place.

ISLAND QUARRY SQUA R E sheets-they saw the marble into Flat slabs there at the marble quarry At the turning of the road around the roots of the mountain Where the straight road would seem to ply below the stone. that fierce Profile of marble spiked with yonder Palms against the sunset's towering sea. It is at times In dusk it is at times as though this island lifted. floated In Indian baths. and maybe Against mankind.It is at times as though the eyes burned hard and glad And did not take the goat path quivering to the right. Wide of the mountain . At Cuban dusk the eyes Walking the straight road toward thunderThis dry road silvering toward the shadow of the quarry .thence to tears and sleepBut went on into marble that does not weep. 117 .

OhGallows and guillotines to hail the sun And smoking racks for penance when day's done! NoLeave us.THE MERMEN And if Thr banished trunk be found in our dominions-KING LEA.This Cross. Here where we finger moidores of spent grace And ponder the bright stains that starred His Throne . But since the Cross sank. The Cross alone has flown the wave. you idols of Futurity .alone. much that's warped and cracked Has followed in its name. only hell that's sacked Of every blight and ingenuityCan solve. Though why they hide here.R BUD D HAS and engines serve us undersea. has heaped its grave. agleam still with a human face! 118 .

daft With squint lanterns in his head. But hack from the hot shore Passed him again ••• He was alone. halt sereneMy trespass vision shrinks to face his wrong.. through these hot barricades of green. peeled end clapped to eye.for see That hoy straggling under those mimosas. and it's lik. though he'd clamped midnight to noon sky! And since. One hand dealt out a kite string.you should have watched him sean Its course. grag . I hurried hy.Pve heard his song Above all reason lifting.THE IDIOT over to the other side. A Dios gracias. 119 . stretched in ghastly shape. agape.ely Fumbling his sex. That kite aloft . a tin can The other tilted. That's why those children laughed SHE E R In such infernal circles round his door Once when he shouted.

we must maim Because we are usurpers.'A NAME F:OlJ.: Moo N 1\1 0 T H and grasshopper that flee our page And still wing on. untarnished of the name We pinion to your hodies to assuage Our envy of your freedom . who build their days With fin and hoof. Names we have. even. to understand. with wing and sweetened fang Struck free and holy in one Name always. 120 . to clap on the wind. and sang As only they can praise. aLI. I dreamed that all men dropped their names. and chagrined And take the wing and scar it in the hand. as you. But we must die.

and beyond that yield Of sweat the jungle presses with hot love And tendril till our deathward breath is sealedIt grazes the horizons. rear Its frondings sighing in retherial folds. A fountain at salute. And the grey trunk. year on year Uneaten of the earth or aught earth holds. Forever fmitless.ascending emerald.bright. launched above Mortality . Amid the noontide's blazed asperities I watched the sun's most gracious anchorite Climb up as by communings. that's elephantine. casual of its azured height As though it soared suehwise through heaven too.ROYAL PALM FOR GRACE HART CRANE G R E E N rustlings. a crown in viewUnshackled. 121 . more than regal charities Drift coolly from that tower of whispered light.

But this.defenseless. The lizard's throat. Is pulmonary to the wind that jars Its tentacles. held bloated for a fly. Angelic Dynamo I Ventriloquist of the Blue! While heachward creeps the shark-swept Spanish Main By what conjunctions do the winds appoint Its apotheosis. The needles and hack-saws of cactus hleed A milk of earth when stricken off the stalk..the hurricane! 122 . thornless.of almost hird alarms.THE AIR PLANT GRAND CAYMAN THIS tuft that thrives on saline nothingness. sheds no hlood. Almost no shadow .hut the air's thin talk. Balloons hut warily from this throbhing perch. at last . horrific in their lurch. Inverted octopus with heavenward arms Thrust parching from a palm-hole hard hy the cove A hird almost .

IMPERATOR VICTUS

BIG gunS again No speakee well But plain. Again, again And they shall tell The Spanish Main

The Dollar from the Cross. Big guns again. But peace to thee,
Andean brain. That defunct boss.

Big guns again, Atahualpa, Imperator Inca-

Slain.

123

THE HURRICANE

Lo, Lord, Thou ridest!
Lord, Lord, Thy swifting heart Naught stayeth, naught now hideth But's smithereened apart! Ay! Scripture flee'th stone! Milk-hright, Thy chisel wind Rescindeth flesh from hone To quivering whittlings thinned Swept - whistling straw! Battered, Lord, e'en houlders now out-leap Rock sockets, levin-lathered! Nor, Lord, may worm out-deep Thy drum's gamhade, its plunge ahscond! Lord God, while summits crashing

124

KEY WEST

Whip sea-kelp screaming on blond Sky-seethe, high heaven dashing-

Thou ridest to the door, Lord! Thou bidest wall Dor floor, Lord!

BACARDI SPREADS THE EAGLE'S WINGS

A B L 0 and Pedro, and black Serafin Bought a launch last week. It might as well Have been made of - well, say paraffin, - That thin and blistered, just a rotten shell.

P

"Hell! out there among the barracudas Their engine stalled. No oars, and leaks Oozing a-plenty. They sat like baking Buddhas. Luckily the Cayman schooner streaks "By just in time, and lifts'em high and dry .•• They're back now on that mulching job at Pepper's. - Yes, patent-leather shoes - hot enough to fry Anyone but these native high-steppers!"

126

Yet met the wave again between your arms Where cliff and citadel. inseparably our days Pass sunward. Yes.AND BEES OF PARADISE come all the way here from the sea. 121 .all verily Dissolved within a sky of beacon formsH A. We have walked the kindled skies Inexorable and girded with your praise. D I Sea gardens lifted rainbow-wise through eyes I found. tall. By the dove filled~ and bees of Paradise.

Being. . least sought for: Emily. love to hind. dead Silencer.Truly no flower yet withers in your hand. bless the quest Achieved that stillness ultimately hest. Else tears heap all within one clay-cold hill. Dared dignify the lahor. You 128 .in vain to askYet fed your hunger like an endless task. most suddenly clear When singing that Eternity possessed And plundered momently in every breast. and Ophir chill. The harvest you descried and understand Needs more than wit to gather.TO EMILY DICKINSON who desired so much . hear! o sweet. of all. Some reconcilement of remotest mind Leaves Ormus ruhyless.

MOMENT EDGUE T 1I E syphilitic selling violets calmly and daisies By the subway news-stand knows how hyacinths This April morning offers hurriedly In hunches sorted freshlyand bestows On every purchaser (of heaven perhaps) His eyes- like crutches hurtled against glass Fall mute and sudden (dealing change for lilies) Beyond the roses that the flesh can pass. IJ9 .

the rum-giver to that slide·by·night. floating plume. You..TO THE CLOUD JUGGLER IN MEMORIAM: BARRY CROSBY WHAT you may cluster 'round the knees of space We hold in vision only.surely smuggled home As you raise temples fresh from basking foam. Your light lifts whiteness into virgin azure ••• Disclose your lips. nor long demure With snore of thunder. Expose vaunted validities that yawn Past pleasantries ••• Assert the ripened dawn As you have yielded balcony and room Or tempests .guide us hy a sealight Of quarts to faithfuls . sea and palm advance The falling wonder of a rainbow's trance. 0 Sun. asking trace Of districts where cliff.The moon's best lover. 130 .in a silver. crowding us to bleed The green preemption of the deep seaweed.

. undestroyed. Whose arrow must have pierced you beyond pain. unburned •.KEY WEST Wrap us and lift US. drop us then. returned Like water.• But do not claim a friend like him again. 131 .like mist.

release your hair. An old Egyptian jest has cramped the tape. search the marshes for a friendly bed Or let us bump heads in some lonely shed.we're still unripe! This hieroglyph is no dumb. It knows it's way through India .BY NILUS ONCE I KNEW ." .the poet said .stampede it with fresh type From twenty alphabets . S 0 M E old Egyptian joke is in the air Dear lady . Decisive grammar given unto queens. deaf mistake. "I wish I mew. Come..•. The keyboard no more offers an escape From the sweet jeopardy of Anthony's plight You've overruled my typewriter tonight.An able text.tropic shake! It's Titicaca till we've trod it through And then it pleads again. more motion than machines Have levers for.

Noble rue With leaved laushter be CIID lrlnd and JIIIIte. And laughter. as that trunk.. Thou wieldest with such tears that every faction Swears high in Hamlet's throat.tempest. and devils throng Where angels beg for doom in ghast distraction And fall. by icy poles 1& hand branches the page! who shall again Command such hazard. being pilot. yet purpoeeful. He'a pilot.TO SHAKESPEARE 1 H R 0 UGH torrid entrances.teropest too.: THB TREE GREAT WILLIAM THROUGH torrid entrances. For bolts that shield lust. past icy poles A hand moves on the page! Who shall again Engrave such hazards as thy might controls Conflicting. thorns that scribble hate Be pe. Strident. purposeful yet outcry vain Of all our days. .rrlee. 1 T A 'I1tZ1iatioD of tlds P(}(fQI. both! Yet thine Ariel holds his song: And that serenity that Prospero gains Is justice that has cancelled earthly chains. too! Sheets that mock lust and thorns that scribble hate Are lifted from torn flesh with human rue.. burnished brighter than our fate. strikes and cancels. those stresses gain The surest leaves. controls.

. 134 . is gong To angels.so there's Ariel's song? The clear serenity that Prospera gains Is ever acom in a world of chains. demons.KEY WEST And out of courses challenge desperate faction. tempered in Hamlet's throat.both in ghast dIstraction! And what of failure . That oath.

to wander the cathedral lawn From pit to crucifix. my long-scattered score Of broken intervals. Banked voices slain! Pagodas. have you not seen that corps Of shadows in the tower. And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave Membrane through marrow. their sexton slave! Oval encyclicals in canyons heaping The impasse high with choir. feet chill on steps from hell. Have you not heard. I say. the bells break down their tower.THE BROKEN TOWER THE bell-rope that gathers God at dawn Dispatches me as though I dropped down the knell Of a spent day . whose shoulders sway Antiphonal carillons launched before The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray? The bells. its voice 135 . campaniles with reveilles outleapingo terraced echoes prostrate on the plain! ••• And so it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love.••• And I.

strikes crystal Word In wounds pledged once to hope .visible wings of silence sown In azure circles.KEY WEST An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled) But not for long to hold each desperate choice. But was it cognate. tall decorum of that sky Unseals her earth. and lifts love in its shower. scored Of that tribunal monarch of the air Whose thigh embronzes earth.or is it she Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?And through whose pulse I hear. counting the strokes My veins recall and add. a tower that is not stone (Not stone can jacket heaven) -but slip Of pebbles . My word I poured. and pure ••• And builds. revived and sure The angelus of wars my chest evokes: What I hold healed. original now. within. 136 .cleft to despair? The steep encroachments of my blood left me No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower As flings the question true?) . widening as they dip The matrix of the heart. lift down the eye That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower ••• The commodious.

Of old there was a promise. the cold stream . and dream no land in vain.The hot fickle wind. And who trick back the leisured winds again As they were fought .and wooed? They now but stoke Their vanity. and thy sails Have kept no faith but wind. no not soot or rain. For who shalIlift head up to funnel smoke.THE PHANTOM BARK So dream thy sails. 0 phantom bark That I thy drowned man may speak again Perhaps as once Will Collins spoke the lark. 131 . And leave me half a-dream upon the main. the breath of males Imprisoned never.

138 .MARCH W A KEto the cold light of wet wind running twigs in tremors.this ghost. Twilights rawand when the sun taps steeples their glistenings dwindle upward ... this slate-eyed saintly wraith of winter wanes and knows its waning. Walls are naked. The vagrant ghost of winter. a little hungry. A March slips along the ground like a mouse under pussy willows.. is it this that keeps the chimney husy still? For something still nudges shingles and windows: hut waveringly.

spend On skies that gild thy remote dawn More hopes than here attend.From every petal gleam Such words as it were vain to close. But here the thorn in sharpened shade Weathers all loneliness. 139 . Bemused at waking.OLD SONG THI N E absence overflows the rose. Such tears as crowd the dream So eyes that mind thee fair and gone. The burden on the rose will fade Sped in the spectrum's kiss.

FOUR· UNCOLLECTED POEMS .

•• Yields and is shielded.prison. its wet infernoF S A I LOR S - Enforces memory . summer.swollen. green as Pernot •. final apple-math of ripe night fallen! Concluding handclasp. its smashing fall. perfume of women. cider. and those weeks of May With distance.• This Connecticut rain.The Dane at Paris. wrapt in traffic flame. lizard·like. 143 . Folds. and the fountainOh.A TRAVELER BORN o those two Corsicans at Marseille. and is folden in the echoing mountain .

It is the moment. when all The heartstrings spring. unlaced.ICB my resignation as I usurp those far Feints of control. centuries.ENRICH MY RESIGNATION NB. die. as Dionysus said. Yet live in all my resignation. Extinction stirred on either side Because love wonders. oh.Here is the peace of the fathers. now. 144 .and see the fox's brush Whisk silently beneath the red hill's crag. keeps a certain mirtIi.- E Die.hear rifles blown out on the stag Below the reroplane .

THE SAD INDIAN SAD heart. He does not know the new hum in the sky And .now can't carry him. lost vantage and the prison His fathers took for granted ages since .but the lash.and scarcely sun and moonThe warp is in his woof .and only thatHow more?. days .farther than wings Their shadows even .is it thus the eagles fiy? 145 .and his keen vision Spells what his tongue has had . does not count Hours.and so he looms Farther than his sun-shadow .backwards . the gymnast of inertia.

then etarve.as they who've Gone have done. susTaining nothing in time hut more and more of Time Mercurially might a.THE CIRCUMSTANCE TO XOCHIPILLI THE anointed stone. who live Thereafter. If you Could drink the sun as did and does Xochipilli . stronger than death smiles in flowering stone. the Desperate sweet eyepit-basins of a bloody foreign clown Couched on bloody basins. as they Who've done••• A god of flowers in statued Stone ••• of love- If you could die. Display the stumbling bones Urging your unsuspecting Shins.- 146 . the coruscated crown The drastic throne. floating bone Of a dismounted people••• If you could buy the stones.dd hut would Subtract and concentrate••.

Possess in hale full the winds) of time A longer answer force. more enduring answer As they did . give florescent Time a longer answer back (shave lightning.and have done••• 147 .UNCOLLECTED POEMS You could stop time.

Forthright I watch the silver Zeppelin destroy the sky. O. shall lavish this on you the dense mine of the orchid. And.. as for me ••• 148 . To stir your confidence? To rouse your sanctions? The silver strophe ••• the canto bright with myth. split in two. And the finger-nails that cinch such environs? And what about the staunch neighbor tabulations. with all their zest for doom? I'm wearing badges that cancel all your kindness. Such distances leap landward without evil smile. I being the tenible puppet of my dreams..THE VISIBLE THE UNTRUE TO E. YES.

149 . To extinguish what I have of faith. And it is always always. light. always the eternal rainbow And it is always the day. the day of unkind farewell. Yes.UNCOLLECTED POEMS The window weight throbs in its blind partition.

dear. Rhyme from the same Tau (closing cinch by cinch) And pocket us who.Who is now left to vary the Sanscrit Pillowed by My wrist in the vestibule of Time?.Who Will hold it . As though we knew those who are variants.RELIQUARY TEN D ERN E S S and resolution! What is our life without a sudden pillow. do not follow. What is death without a ditch? The harvest laugh of bright Apollo And the flint tooth of Sagittarius. somehow. Charms that each by each refuse the clinch With desperate propriety.wear the keepsake. whose name is writ In wider letters than the alphabet. of time Return the mirage on a coin that spells Something of sand and sun the Nile defends? 150 .

the high plateau . I dream the too-keen cider . was not so.is it green or brown That I prefer to country or to town? I am unraveled. Exile is thus purgatory . my friendsAm I apart . Where are the bayonets that the scorpion may not grow? Here quakes of earth make houses fa11And all my countrymen I see rush toward one stall. As one whose altitude atcone time. forsaken .sputum gleam Like something left.and the dangerous tree .the scents Of Eden . l And are these stars .not such as Dante built.are these The landscape of confession . As ring the church hells here in Mexico(They ring too obdurately here to heed my call) And what hours they forget to chime I'll know.here am. And I have no decision . 0 151 .here from you in a land Where all your gas lights .faces . My country.the too-soft snow. umbilical anew.and if confession So absolution? Wake pines-but pines wake here. But rather like a blanket than a quilt.PURGATORIO my land.

again. the clamour of in· cessant shutters.to ran· som . dusty glass . supposedly in #35 .. its milk.to cure•••• The rats played ring around the rosy (in their basement basinette) . The wind.to deduct ..and the pharos shine .HAVANA ROSE now we have a house in Mexico. Where? Somewhere in Vera Cruz . fond remembrances of the great bacteriologist. that night.to take .antagonistic wills . doors. whirled ••• delayed..to mix . Only the Mayans surely sleptwhose references to typhus and whose records spurred the Doctor into something nigh those metaphysics that are typhoid plus and had engaged him once before to death's beyond and back again. and struck . That night in Vera Cruz .thus in my wakeful watches at leastthe lighthouse flashed ••. the Doctor's rat trap.his crumbled palace in the square .into immu. again.light regularity above my bath partition through the lofty.Cortez . LET us strip the desk for action - 152 .the midwind midnight stroke of it. and the watchman tiptoeing the successive patio balconies trundling with a typical pistoltrying to muffle doors .the typhus in a trap.the Doctor supposedly slept.Cortez . my humble.••..to bring .verily for me "the True Cross"-let us remember the Doctor and my thoughts.

.and too.hy which also you win and gain mastery and happiness which is your own from hirth.•.••• And during the wait over dinner at La Diana. horsemanship. the Doctor had said . that you can yield to ." IS! . when rats make rose nozzles of pink death around white teeth. were germicides to him. Tact. courage.who was American also -"You cannot heed the negative.UNCOLLECTED POEMS nity.• must therefore loose yourself within a pattern's mastery that you can conceive. hut doctors are rare poets when roses leap like rats . Poets may not he doctors. so might go on to undeserved doom •.

And here we join eyes in that sanctity Where brother passes brother without sight.•• So sleep. hrother. And fame is pivotal to shame with every sun That rises on eternity's long willingness . my shame undone. 154 .REPLY THO U canst read nothing except through appetite. Seek bliss then. But finally knows conviviality. dear brother. All this that halks delivery through words Shall come to you through wounds prescribed hy swords: That hate is but the vengeance of a long caress. in my moment's shame. unto thy turning and thy blame.•• Go then. in my fame.

jokes. and the later cattle country. yes •. heside the railroad ties as one nears New Orleans. My only final friends the wren and thrush. ensign of my faith towards something far. 155 . their ribhon miles. made solid print for me across dawn's hroken arc.. No. There were counters and schedules. or were they the audible ransom. roses. and a paralytic woman on an island of the Indies. sweet trenches by the train after the western desert.A POSTSCRIPT FRIENDSHIP agony! words came to me at last shyly. Dawn's hroken arc! the noon's more furbished room! Yet seldom was there faith in the heart's right kindness. like porters. now farther than ever away? Remember the lavender of that dawn. There were tickets and alarm clocks. • . Antillean fingers counting my pulse. and other gratuities. my love forever. lilies.

though still gusting halefullYt The old woman and I foraged some drier clothes And left the house.•. She almost . Parts of the roof reached Yucatan. not to mention poor Bataban6. was requisitioned into pens For cotted Negroes.rememberl October . The only huilding not sagging on its knees. And Cuban doctors. Was halfway under water with :fires 156 . But the town. loose hens.all WeT. the town! Wires in the streets and Chinamen up and down With arms in slings.even then . But was there a hoat? By the wharf's old site you saw Two decks unsandwiched. split sixty feet apart And a funnel high and dry up near the park Where a frantic peacock rummaged amid heaped cans. or what was left of it. They groaned. troopers. trucks. bandaged to be taken To Havana on the first boat through. I suppose. Fernandez' Hotel. Noone seemed to be able to get a spark From the world outside. hut some rumor blew That Havana. plaster strewn dense with tiles.ETERNITY September. -BARBADIAN ADA41 AFT E R it was over.got blown across lots At the base of the mountain.

and lick the grass. which the rimed white wind had glazed. begging for buzzards. like lace. And somebody's mule steamed.it's almost over. swaying right by the pump. too Sobbed. The mule stumbled.Eternity! 157 . Yes.UNCOLLECTED POEMS For some hours since Of course. there too. . And Sarah saw them.. creeping up with dawn Out of the bamboo brake through howling. sheeted light When the storm was dying. stripped now. staggered.One ours. Everything gone . white . as black as patent Leather. bare of palm. For I Remember still that strange gratuity of horses .I can't account for himI And true. The weather's in their noses. I somehow couldn't budge To lift a stick for pity of his stupor.or strewn in riddled graceLong tropic roots high in the air. vultures. all wireless down Back at the erstwhile house We shoveled and sweated. a stranger. he stood Like a vast phantom maned by all that memoried night Of screaming rain . Everything . Good God! as though his sinking carcass there Were death predestined ! You held your nose already along the roads. now . For they know. and one. watched the ogre sun Blister the mountain.but that one. There's Don .

A. 158 . Bodies were rushed into graves Without ceremony. The roads were being cleared. I stood a long time in Mack's talking New York with the gobs. Norfolk:. The morrow's dawn was dense with carrion hazes Sliding everywhere. Guantanamo.S.Drinking Bacardi and talking U. Doctors shot ahead from the deck in planes. The fever was checked. He got that far And fell dead or dying. it seemed.UNCOLLECTED POEMS Yet water. injured brought in And treated. water! I beat the dazed mule toward the road. hut it didn't so much matter. while hammers pattered in town. In due time The President sent down a hattleship that haked Something like two thousand loaves on the way.

THE RETURN THE sea raised up a campanile••• The wind I heard Of brine partaking.that breakers spouted. into natal power••• 159 . whirling spout in shower Of column kiss .me .her. sheared Back into bosom .

APPENDIX A. EARLY POEMS .

NOTE
HART CRANE began to write verse in his fourteenth year. When he prepared his first collection. White Buildings, in 1926, he rejected a large mass
of poems composed befGre he was twenty; and destroyed the manuscripts. A few of these early efforts had, however, been publIshed in magazmes, such as The Pagan" The Modem School, The Modernist, S4N, The Measure; and were thus saved for the student of the evolution of Crane's style. His first published verse appea,red in Bruno':; Bohemia, when he was fifteen. The majority of the poems here reproduced are from The Pagan. They are printed as an appendix, in order to preserve the fact of their rejection by the poet. -EDITOR

THE HIVE

p the chasm-walls of my bleeding heart Humanity pecks, claws, sobs and climbs; Up the inside, and over every part Of the hive of the world that is my heart.

U

And of all the sowing, and all the tear-tendering, And reaping, have mercy and love issued forth; Mercy, white milk, and honey, gold loveAnd I watch, and say, "These the anguish are worth."
1917

169

ANNUNCIATIONS

T HE anxious milk-hIood in the veins of the earth,
That strives long and quiet to sever the girth Of greenery•••• Below the roots, a quickening shiver Aroused by some light that had sensed,- ere the shiver Of the nrst moth's descent,- day's predestiny.•. The sand of a dove's Hight waved over the lawn••• The moan of travail in one dearest beside me... Then high cries from great chasms of chaos withdrawnHush! these things were all heard before dawn.
1917

164

THE BATHERS

Two ivory women by a milky sea;The dawn, a shell's pale lining restlessly Shimmering over a black mountain-spear:A dreamer might see these, and wake to hear But there is no sound - not even a bird-note; Only simple ripples flaunt, and stroke, and float,Flat lily petals to the sea's white throat. They say that Venus shot through foam to light, But they are wrong...• Ere man was given sight She came in such still water, and so nursed In Silence, beauty blessed and beauty cursed.

1917

165

This hums and is not burnt•••• My modem love were Charred at a stake in younger times than ours.And bolts herself within a jewelled helt. but she Even. sank in love and choked with flowers.lilies.MODERN CRAFT T11 0 U G 11 I have touched her flesh of moons. Ophelia had such eyes.innocence dissolute! She hazards jet. Still she sits gestureless and mute. Drowning cool pearls in alcohol.. wears tiger. Too many palms have grazed her shoulders: Surely she must have felt. 1918 . o blameless shyness.

1918 . and the blue stone Set in your tryst·ring has but worn more bright.. much endures.. distance again expands Between us. Trust birds alone: A dove's wings clung about my heart last night With surging gentleness.much follows.•.No.nor my lips freed laughter since "farewell." And with the day. Yet.CARRIER LETTER M y hands have not touched water since your hands. voiceless as an uncoiled shell.

Then the moon In a mad orange flare Floods the grape-hung night.Dives through the :filter of trellises And gilds the silver on the hlotched arhor-seats. 1918 .OCTOBER-NOVEMBER I ND I A N-summer-sun With crimson feathers whips away the mists. Now gold and purple scintillate On trees that seem dancing In delirium.

•• But hold me ••• somewhere I heard demands•••• And on the window licks the night.. The food has a warm and tempting smell. Pile on the logs.But on the window licks the night. 1918 169 .it is not fright .••• Give me your hands. he says that all is well And the fire-wood glow is bright.FEAR THE host.. Friends! No.

and pain Glitters on the edges of wet ferns. 1918 170 . Though fountains droop in waning light. wistful and unmended.eOSTSCRIPT THO UGH now but marble are the marble urns.An imagined garden grey with sundered boughs And broken hranches. I should not dare to let you in again.. Mine is a world foregone though not yet ended. And mist that is more constant than your vows.

Or. Barbaric Prince Igor:.or.dismiss the passion from your arms. 1919 171 . the gestures you have spun Haunt the hlank stage with lingering alarms. Despair until the moon by tears be won. More real than life. blind Pierrot. Daphnis. move among the bees with Chloe. V Release. danced undone.. Though silent as your sandals.TO POT APOVITCH (OF THE BALLET RUSSE) AU L T on the opal carpet of the sun.

White as a blasted tree. Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled. freed from beat and measure.FORGETFULNESS is like a song That. wanders. I can remember much forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is white. And it may stun the sybil into prophecy. Outspread and motionless A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly. Or an old house in a forest!. Or bury the Gods. 1919 172 . FORGETFULNESS Forgetfulness is rain at night.or a child.

MODERN POETRY: AN ESSAY .APPENDIX B.

with respect to certain neglected early European traditions. but on the articulation of the contemporary human consciousness sub specie retemitatis. hut rather as a contemporary tradition in which the original obstacles to freedom have heen."MODERN POETRY" 1 MODERN poetry has long since passed the crest of its rebellion against many of the so-called classical strictures. hut often in forms which are more constricting than liberation. self. For poetry is an architectural art. 175 . Sayler's Symposi1UX1. Revolution flourishes still. than were many of the Victorian regulations that formed the immediate butt of attack. The poet's concem must be. "Revolt in the Am" (B:nmtano's. and is reproduced br pennis&iOll. in view of a generous choice of subject matter. EDrrOJl. as always. of Mr. Sayler and of the Publishers. 1929). and inclusive of 1 This essay 'W'8S written by Hart Crane for Oliver M. Indeed the primary departures of the early intransigeants were often more in a classic direction. if not always eradicated. It persists at a rapid momentum in certain groups or move· ments. Indeed. to the serious artist. based not on Evolution or the idea of progress.discipline toward a formal integration of experience. at least obscured by floods of later experimentation. revolution as an all-engrossing program no longer exists.

the full purport of whose inspiration seems to lie beyond the reach of current literary expression. It is therefore more apt to be indicative of impending changes in other media such as painting or music. modem or ancient. Analysis and discovery. Literature has a more tangible relationship to painting. "dares want its appropriate form. neither indeed is there any danger of this. as in the case of some modem composers such as Stravinsky.the power of acting creatively under laws of its own origination. more exact scope of implication than painting or any of the other arts. This is a logical deduction that facts do not always favor. tives of both painter and poet. A great deal of modem painting is as independent of any representational motive 176 . In this recent preoccupation it is certain that both media were responding to the shifting emphasis of the Western World away from religion toward science." he says. "No work of true genius. be lawless: for it is even this that constitutes its genius .APPENDIX B all readjustments incident to science and other shifting factors related to that consciousness. of Impressionism. Both arts have had parallel and somewhat analogous tendencies toward abstract statement and metaphysical representation. As it must not. so genius cannot. and cannot be improved upon. and later." Poetry has at once a greater intimacy and a wider. became conscious objec. and it is highly probable that the Symbolist movement in French poetry was a considerable factor in the instigation nrst. of Cubism. The key to the process of free creative activity which Coleridge gave us in his "Lectures on Shakespeare" exposes the responsibilities of every poet. the two basic concerns of science.

to the sensations of urban life. galleons.APPENDIX B as a mathematical equation. It demands. castles and all other human associations of the past. The ultimate influence of machinery in this respect remains to be seen. and its capacities for presenting the most complete synthesis of human values remain essentially immune from any of the so-called inroads of science. so easily accessible as to arrest the development of any hut the most negligible esthetic responses. This process does not infer any program of lyrical pandering to the taste of those obsessed by the importance of machin~ ery.. then poetry has failed of its full contemporary function.. hut its firm entrenchment in our lives has already produced a series of challenging new responsibilities for the poet. while some of the most intense and eloquent current verse derives sheerly from acute psy. cattle. The emotional stimulus of machinery is on an entirely different psychic plane from that of poetry. For unless poetry can absorb the machine. of course. Its only menace lies in its capacities for facile entertainment. Machinery will tend to lose its sensational glamour and appear in 177 . that the poet possesses sufficient spontaneity and gusto to convert this experience into positive terms. however.e. The function of poetry in a Machine Age is identical to its function in any other age. acclimatize it as naturally and casually as trees. along with the traditional qualifications of the poet. at least temporarily. quite independent of any dramatio motivation. This presupposes. nor does it essentially involve even the specific mention of a single mechanical contrivance. i. an extraordinary capacity for surrender. chological analysis.

Similarly.with the "Commedia" of Dante to prove the contrary. the uncanonized Deity of the times. For. the wonderment experienced in watching nose dives is of less immediate creative promise to poetry than the familiar gesture of a motorist in the modest act of shifting gears. Science. And a sigh is the sword of an Angel King". It is a peculiar type of perception. That "truth" which science pursues is radically different from the metaphorical. plow and ham.forming as spontaneous a terminology of poetic reference as the hucolic world of pasture. it cannot act creatively in our lives until. poetic prophecy in the case of the seer has nothing to do with factual prediction or with futurity.APPENDIX B its true subsidiary order in human life as use and continual poetic allusion subdue its novelty. I mean to say that mere romantic speculation on the power and beauty of machinery keeps it at a continual remove.he was not in any logical conflict with the principles of the Newtonian Universe. seems to have automatically displaced the hierarchies of both Academy 178 . capable of apprehending some ahsolute and timeless concept of the imagination with astounding clarity and conviction. its connotations emanate from within . The familiar contention that science is inimical to poetry is no more tenable than the kindred notion that the· ology has heen proverhially hostile . When Blake wrote that "a tear is an intellectual thing. That the modern poet can profitably assume the roles of pbilosopher or theologian is questionable at best. extra-logical "truth" of the poet. contrary to general prejudice. like the unconscious nervous responses of our hodies.

at least. machinery and other factors which I have merely touched upon. The most typical and valid expression of the American psychosis seems to me still to be found in Whitman. He was a revolutionist beyond the strict meaning of Coleridge's definition of genius. The future of American poetry is too complicated a speculation to be more than approached in this limited space.APPENDIX B and Church. His faults as a technician and his clumsy and indiscriminate enthusiasm are somewhat beside the point. It is pertinent to cite the authors of the "Commedia" and "Paradise Lost" as poets whose verse survives the religious dogmas and philosophies of their respective periods.-besides those influential traditions of early English prosody which form points of departure. . was able to coordinate those forces in America which seem most intractable. but his bequest is still to be realized in all its implications. better than any other. Involved in it are the host of considerations relative to the comparative influences of science. but it is fallacious to assume that either of these poets could have written important religious verse without the fully developed and articulated religious dogmas that each was heir to. fusing them into a universal vision which takes on additional significance as time goes on. for any indigenous rhythms and forms which may emerge. He.

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