Saturday, April 11, 2009

Richard cory.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I'd post a few poems by one of my favorite lesser known poets, Stephen Crane. Yeah, The Red Badge of Courage Guy. Thanks to Project Gutenburg for loading up an E-text of War Is Kind (1915) from which I have "fairly" used two representative poems.

* * *

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
“A sense of obligation.”

* * *

Love met me at noonday,
—Reckless imp,
To leave his shaded nights
And brave the glare,—
And I saw him then plainly
For a bungler,
A stupid, simpering, eyeless bungler,
Breaking the hearts of brave people
As the snivelling idiot-boy cracks his bowl,
And I cursed him,
Cursed him to and fro, back and forth,
Into all the silly mazes of his mind,
But in the end
He laughed and pointed to my breast,
Where a heart still beat for thee, beloved.

* * *

Interesting stuff, which I was fascinated by as a 17 year old college freshman. I bought a copy of Cornell's 1972 edition of the complete poems at The Coop. They spoke to my querying, existentialist soul. Isn't every teenager an angsty intellectual is some ways? I loved the combination of tradition (dramatic monologues, allegory) and innovation (free verse) that Crane espoused. It's funny the parallels between he and Thomas Hardy. Both most famous for novels, especially ones full of dramatic irony and sylvan naturalism, and both less well known Modernist or at least proto-Modernist poets. Don't forget that Hardy that Eminent Victorian's second most famous poem is about the sinking of the Titanic and was written in 1915 more than 40 years after his first published novel!

Somehow Crane was always prescient from a screed on newspapers to this snippet which might bring Blackwater or KBR to mind:

The impact of a million dollars
Is a crash of flunkys,
And yawning emblems of Persia
Cheeked against oak, France and a sabre,
The outcry of old beauty
Whored by pimping merchants
To submission before wine and chatter.

That's just spooky.

Can't offer the Poem a Day thing. For that visit a friend's blog. But I might pop off with another poem or three ere May is nigh.

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