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About this Poem 

"XXI [There was, before me]" first appeared in Black Riders and Other Lines (Copeland & Day, 1905)

XXI [There was, before me]

There was, before me,
Mile upon mile
Of snow, ice, burning sand.
And yet I could look beyond all this,
To a place of infinite beauty;
And I could see the loveliness of her
Who walked in the shade of the trees.
When I gazed,
All was lost
But this place of beauty and her.
When I gazed,
And in my gazing, desired,
Then came again
Mile upon mile,
Of snow, ice, burning sand.

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
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.
poem
Places among the stars,
Soft gardens near the sun,
Keep your distant beauty;
Shed no beams upon my weak heart.
Since she is here
In a place of blackness,
Not your golden days
Not your silver nights
Can call me to you.
Since she is here
In a place of blackness,
Here I stay and wait.