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About this poet

Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1871. A prolific writer of poetry and fiction, his books include The Red Badge of Courage (D. Appleton & Co., 1895), The Black Riders and Other Lines (Boston, Copeland, and Day, 1895), War is Kind (F. A. Stokes, 1899). He died in June of 1900. 

The impact of a dollar upon the heart

The impact of a dollar upon the heart
Smiles warm red light
Sweeping from the hearth rosily upon the white table,
With the hanging cool velvet shadows
Moving softly upon the door.

The impact of a million dollars
Is a crash of flunkeys
And yawning emblems of Persia
Cheeked against oak, France and a sabre,
The outcry of old beauty
Whored by pimping merchants
To submission before wine and chatter.
Silly rich peasants stamp the carpets of men,
Dead men who dreamed fragrance and light
Into their woof, their lives;
The rug of an honest bear
Under the feet of a cryptic slave
Who speaks always of baubles,
Forgetting state, multitude, work, and state,
Champing and mouthing of hats,
Making ratful squeak of hats,

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane, born in 1871, was a prolific writer of poetry and fiction and considered a foundation of American naturalism.

by this poet


Once, I knew a fine song,
—It is true, believe me,—
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! They all flew away.
I cried, “Come back, little thoughts!”
But they only laughed.
They flew on
Until they were as sand


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


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.