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Best Famous Hart Crane Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Hart Crane poems. This is a select list of the best famous Hart Crane poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Hart Crane poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Hart Crane poems.

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Written by Annie Finch |

Elegy For My Father

 HLF, August 8, 1918—August 22, 1997

“Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal’s wide spindrift gaze towards paradise.
” —Hart Crane, “Voyages” “If a lion could talk, we couldn’t understand it” —Ludwig Wittgenstein Under the ocean that stretches out wordlessly past the long edge of the last human shore, there are deep windows the waves haven't opened, where night is reflected through decades of glass.
There is the nursery, there is the nanny, there are my father’s unreachable eyes turned towards the window.
Is the child uneasy? His is the death that is circling the stars.
In the deep room where candles burn soundlessly and peace pours at last through the cells of our bodies, three of us are watching, one of us is staring with the wide gaze of a wild, wave-fed seal.
Incense and sage speak in smoke loud as waves, and crickets sing sand towards the edge of the hourglass.
We wait outside time, while night collects courage around us.
The vigil is wordless.
And you watch the longest, move the farthest, besieged by your breath, pulling into your body.
You stare towards your death, head arched on the pillow, your left fingers curled.
Your mouth sucking gently, unmoved by these hours and their vigil of salt spray, you show us how far you are going, and how long the long minutes are, while spiralling night watches over the room and takes you, until you watch us in turn.
Lions speak their own language.
You are still breathing.
Here is release.
Here is your pillow, cool like a handkerchief pressed in a pocket.
Here is your white tousled long growing hair.
Here is a kiss on your temple to hold you safe through your solitude’s long steady war; here, you can go.
We will stay with you, keeping the silence we all came here for.
Night, take his left hand, turning the pages.
Spin with the windows and doors that he mended.
Spin with his answers, patient, impatient.
Spin with his dry independence, his arms warmed by the needs of his family, his hands flying under the wide, carved gold ring, and the pages flying so his thought could fly.
His breath slows, lending its edges out to the night.
Here is his open mouth.
Silence is here like one more new question that he will not answer.
A leaf is his temple.
The dark is the prayer.
He has given his body; his hand lies above the sheets in a symbol of wholeness, a curve of thumb and forefinger, ringed with wide gold, and the instant that empties his breath is a flame faced with a sudden cathedral's new stone.

Written by Hart Crane |

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 flashing 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.
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.

Written by Philip Levine |

On The Meeting Of García Lorca And Hart Crane

 Brooklyn, 1929.
Of course Crane's been drinking and has no idea who this curious Andalusian is, unable even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them together knows both Spanish and English, but he has a headache from jumping back and forth from one language to another.
For a moment's relief he goes to the window to look down on the East River, darkening below as the early light comes on.
Something flashes across his sight, a double vision of such horror he has to slap both his hands across his mouth to keep from screaming.
Let's not be frivolous, let's not pretend the two poets gave each other wisdom or love or even a good time, let's not invent a dialogue of such eloquence that even the ants in your own house won't forget it.
The two greatest poetic geniuses alive meet, and what happens? A vision comes to an ordinary man staring at a filthy river.
Have you ever had a vision? Have you ever shaken your head to pieces and jerked back at the image of your young son falling through open space, not from the stern of a ship bound from Vera Cruz to New York but from the roof of the building he works on? Have you risen from bed to pace until dawn to beg a merciless God to take these pictures away? Oh, yes, let's bless the imagination.
It gives us the myths we live by.
Let's bless the visionary power of the human— the only animal that's got it—, bless the exact image of your father dead and mine dead, bless the images that stalk the corners of our sight and will not let go.
The young man was my cousin, Arthur Lieberman, then a language student at Columbia, who told me all this before he died quietly in his sleep in 1983 in a hotel in Perugia.
A good man, Arthur, he survived graduate school, later came home to Detroit and sold pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one to compose his hideous songs on, which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!

More great poems below...

Written by Hart Crane |

The Visible The Untrue

 Yes, I being
the terrible puppet of my dreams, shall
lavish this on you—
the dense mine of the orchid, split in two.
And the fingernails 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 what sanctions—? The silver strophe.
the canto bright with myth .
Such distances leap landward without evil smile.
And, as for me.
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 farewell day unkind.

Written by Hart Crane |


 My hands have not touched pleasure since your hands, --
No, -- nor my lips freed laughter since 'farewell',
And with the day, distance again expands
Voiceless between us, as an uncoiled shell.
Yet, love endures, though starving and alone.
A dove's wings clung about my heart each night With surging gentleness, and the blue stone Set in the tryst-ring has but worn more bright.

Written by Hart Crane |


 As 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.
Then, drop by 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.

Written by Hart Crane |

To Emily Dickinson

 You who desired so much--in vain to ask--
Yet fed you hunger like an endless task,
Dared dignify the labor, bless the quest--
Achieved that stillness ultimately best,

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 bind.
Some reconcilement of remotest mind-- Leaves Ormus rubyless, and Ophir chill.
Else tears heap all within one clay-cold hill.

Written by Hart Crane |

Voyages II

 --And yet this great wink of eternity,
Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,
Samite sheeted and processioned where
Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,
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 bells off San Salvador Salute the crocus lustres of the stars, In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,-- Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal, Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.
Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours, And hasten while her penniless rich palms Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,-- Hasten, while they are true,--sleep, death, desire, Close round one instant in one floating flower.
Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, 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.

Written by Barry Tebb |


 Barbarous insult to Yeats’ memory and Claudel’s

Allen, thank God you are dead, you who breathed the air of Apollinaire,

Ghost of Reverdy bear witness to the mendacity of his clamour,

Hart Crane, rise from the estuary of the great river you drowned in,

John Clare, rise from your country churchyard grave,

Gray, from your carv?d tomb and Wilde, cast off your winged shield

In P?re Lachaise,

Rise poets, rise and drive the barbarous horde without the sacred gates

of Art

Where it has crept and quenched the flame, rendering the Nine silent

And bereft and covered in shame.
Pastmaster of Post Modernist jargon, defiler of the tombs of great poets Whose souls hover in Elysium or crouch along the banks of black Lethe Begging a crown to lay on Charon’s palm.
Souls of the great dead rise and deliver us from one who negates Poetry as the realm of the numinous, toyer with words, vain hack of Academe, Spoiler of the silver stream of poetry’s wind-harp voice unseen Traducer, seducer, traitor, hands red with blood, bearer of the ultimate guilt Of trahison des clercs, murderer of the subtle spirit of Mallarm?, Defiler of poetry’s purity as defined by Rilke and Val?ry Praiser of ultimate poetastry-Duhig’s penny ranting-condemner of Jimmy Simmons- One Leeds Jimmy who could fix the world’s Duhigs once and for all, Write them into the ground and still have a hundred lyrics in his quiver.

Written by Hart Crane |


 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.

Written by Hart Crane |

Carmen De Boheme

 Sinuously winding through the room 
On smokey tongues of sweetened cigarettes, -- 
Plaintive yet proud the cello tones resume 
The andante of smooth hopes and lost regrets.
Bright peacocks drink from flame-pots by the wall, Just as absinthe-sipping women shiver through With shimmering blue from the bowl in Circe's hall.
Their brown eyes blacken, and the blue drop hue.
The andante quivers with crescendo's start, And dies on fire's birth in each man's heart.
The tapestry betrays a finger through The slit, soft-pulling; -- -- -- and music follows cue.
There is a sweep, -- a shattering, -- a choir Disquieting of barbarous fantasy.
The pulse is in the ears, the heart is higher, And stretches up through mortal eyes to see.
Carmen! Akimbo arms and smouldering eyes; -- Carmen! Bestirring hope and lipping eyes; -- Carmen whirls, and music swirls and dips.
"Carmen!," comes awed from wine-hot lips.
Finale leaves in silence to replume Bent wings, and Carmen with her flaunts through the gloom Of whispering tapestry, brown with old fringe: -- The winers leave too, and the small lamps twinge.
Morning: and through the foggy city gate A gypsy wagon wiggles, striving straight.
And some dream still of Carmen's mystic face, -- Yellow, pallid, like ancient lace.

Written by Hart Crane |


 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.

Written by Hart Crane |


 We will 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 torn elbow coverts.
We will sidestep, and to the final smirk Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us, 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.
The game enforces smirks; but 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.

Written by Hart Crane |

At Melvilles Tomb

 Often 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.

Written by Hart Crane |

The Great Western Plains

 The little voices of the prairie dogs 
Are tireless .
They will give three hurrahs Alike to stage, equestrian, and pullman, And all unstingingly as to the moon.
And Fifi's bows and poodle ease Whirl by them centred on the lap Of Lottie Honeydew, movie queen, Toward lawyers and Nevada.
And how much more they cannot see! Alas, there is so little time, The world moves by so fast these days! Burrowing in silk is not their way -- And yet they know the tomahawk.
Indeed, old memories come back to life; Pathetic yelps have sometimes greeted Noses pressed against the glass.