poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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
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
Nor your silver nights
Can call me to you.
Since she is here
In a place of blackness,
Here I stay and wait.
poem

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

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