14 June 2006


Stephen Crane is mainly remembered today as the author of The Red Badge of Courage, which you likely had to read in high school. But Stephen Crane also wrote poetry, which I remember discovering in my American lit textbook.

Crane's poetry has a kind of steely, vivid, precise voice. And it is uncompromisingly cold and bleak. Not cold and bleak in a wistful, romantic ruins, Edgar Alan Poe, recite it and the goth girls may swoon for you kind of way. Cold and bleak like an operating theatre. It is bitter, but I like it. Not to everyone's tastes.

Looking through that online collection, I discover that he wrote one hell of a love poem.

Should the wide world roll away,
Leaving black terror,
Limitless night,
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand
Would be to me essential,
If thou and thy white arms were there,
And the fall to doom a long way.


Update: a variation on the theme, from (of all places) The Oatmeal.


batojar said...

That's wierd - on the subway to work I was listening to music and Utah Phillips shuffled on (he should, by the way make your list of American Heroes - somewhere near the top IMHO) and randomly, in the middle of "Halleluya I'm a Bum," he recited this very poem you linked to.

The universe aligns for Stephen Crane this morning.

Jonathan Korman said...

“In the desert” turns up everywhere once you know to look for it. At Burning Man last year, I saw it posted on signs one line at a time like a Burma-Shave ad.

As for the universe aligning for Mr. Crane, I'll let him address the question:

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

Hecate said...

I had no idea that Crane wrote poetry. That's lovely.

Here's a link to a love poem that I blogged about the other day: http://hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com/2006/06/i-want-to-be-loved-like-this-or-i-want.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

The West Coast Commission of Goth Girls wishes to inform you that at our last annual meeting we voted to move that we are totally over Poe. Any goth girl over the age of 15 who still swoons over Poe will have her Goth Card (and all the rights and responsibilities thereto attendant) revoked.

- The West Coast Comission of Goth Girls