Hart Crane


Where 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 buck-wheat, 
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 boulders lengthened my back: 
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 black 
Vine-stanchioned valleys-': but the wind 
Died speaking through the ages that you know 
And hug, chimney-sooted heart of man! 
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 
What fountains did I hear? What icy speeches? 
Memory, committed to the page, had broke.