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About this Poem 

“A Man Said to the Universe” was published in War Is Kind (Frederick A. Stokes, 1899). 

A Man Said to the Universe

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

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
“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
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

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.