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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

poem
Behold, from the land of the farther suns 
I returned. 
And I was in a reptile-swarming place, 
Peopled, otherwise, with grimaces, 
Shrouded above in black impenetrableness. 
I shrank, loathing, 
Sick with it. 
And I said to him, 
“What is this?”
He made answer slowly, 
“Spirit, this is a world; 
“This was your
poem
A man saw a ball of gold in the sky; 
He climbed for it, 
And eventually he achieved it—
It was clay. 

Now this is the strange part: 
When the man went to the earth 
And looked again, 
Lo, there was the ball of gold. 
Now this is the strange part: 
It was a ball of gold. 
Aye, by the heavens, it was a ball of
poem
“Truth," said a traveller, 
“Is a rock, a mighty fortress; 
“Often have I been to it, 
“Even to its highest tower, 
“From whence the world looks black.”

“Truth," said a traveller, 
“Is a breath, a wind, 
“A shadow, a phantom; 
“Long have I pursued it, 
“But never have I touched 
“The hem of its garment.”

And I