Friday, June 5, 2015

Poem for the Weekend: Stephen Crane


Yesterday I wrote a little something about my creative process, and today I'm sharing one of my favorite poems, which has always, to me, said a little something on the same topic. Its author, Stephen Crane, is best known for that high school English class staple, The Red Badge of Courage. He also wrote the naturalistic Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. And perhaps you've read his short story, "The Open Boat" (if you haven't, you should, here). During my immersion into All Things Crane this morning, I also came across his obituary in the New York Times, from June 6, 1900, which gives you a feel for his character and career. But for now, the poem I would bring along if pressed to choose only one for eternity:

In the Desert

by Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

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.”


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka