Chaplinesque (Hart Crane)

November 10, 2008

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.
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One Response to “Chaplinesque (Hart Crane)”

  1. Shugars said

    Twenty years ago I encountered Crane’s poems, “Chaplinesque,” “My Grandmother’s Love Letters,” and a handful of other in poetry class. I was youthfully exuberant for poetry, hungry and always surprised. Crane stunned me.

    “A grail of laughter of an empty ash can”

    Damn, I thought. That’s language that makes language tremble.

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