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About this poet

Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1871. His books include the poetry collections The Black Riders and Other Lines (Copeland & Day, 1895), War Is Kind (Frederick A. Stokes, 1899), and most famously, the novel, The Red Badge of Courage (D. Appleton & Co., 1895). He died in June of 1900.

XXVIII [“Truth," said a traveller]

“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 believed the second traveller; 
For truth was to me 
A breath, a wind, 
A shadow, a phantom, 
And never had I touched 
The hem of its garment.

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

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
 

poem
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 muck
Of things from my heart.
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.