Poems by Stephen Crane

From the Book: The Complete Poems of Stephen Crane

The Heart

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter—bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

A Man Said to the Universe

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

The Wayfarer

The wayfarer
Perceiving the pathway to truth
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
"Ha," he said,
"I see that none has passed here
"In a long time."
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
"Well," he mumbled at last,
"Doubtless there are other roads."

I Saw a Man Pursuing The Horizon

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never–"
"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

Many Workmen

Many workmen
Built a huge ball of masonry
Upon a mountaintop.
Then they went to the valley below,
And turned to behold their work.
"It is grand," they said;
They loved the thing.

Of a sudden, it moved.
It came upon them swiftly;
It crushed them all to blood.
But some had opportunity to squeal.

Many Red Devils

Many red devils ran from my heart
And out upon the page.
They were so tiny
Then pen could mash them.
And many struggled in the ink.
It was strange
To write in this red muck
Of things from my heart.

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