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About this Poem 

“LXV [Once, I knew a fine song]” was published in The Black Riders and Other Lines (Copeland and Day, 1896).

LXV [Once, I knew a fine song]

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
Thrown between me and the sky.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane, born in 1871, was a prolific writer of poetry and fiction.

by this poet

You say you are holy,
And that
Because I have not seen you sin.
Aye, but there are those
Who see you sin, my friend.
Many red devils ran from my heart
And out upon the page,
They were so tiny
The pen could mash them.
And many struggled in the ink.
It was strange
To write in this red much
Of things from my heart.

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