August 14, 2007 at 2:40 am 3 comments

Hart Crane


We will make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.

For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm torn elbow coverts.

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!

And yet these fine collapses are not lies
More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;
Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.
We can evade you, and all else but the heart:
What blame to us if the heart live on.

The game enforces smirks; but we have seen
The moon in lonely alleys make
A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,
And through all sound of gaiety and quest
Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.

What better way to end our poems about movies theme than with this exquisite poem by Hart Crane. Crane is one of the greatest and most original visionaries of twentieth century poetry, shaper of an inimitable aesthetic, master of finding the lyrical in the prosaic, the astonishment of beauty in the tedium of the everyday. What other poet could have taken something as out and out entertaining, as raucously funny, as a Chaplin film, and written a poem this gentle, this heartbreaking? What other poet could have written a line as perfect as “we have seen / The moon in lonely alleys make / A grail of laughter of an empty ash can, / And through all sound of gaiety and quest / Have heard a kitten in the wilderness”?

I can think of no better summing up of this madcap enterprise of illusion and fantasy, of moonlight and tears,  that we call the movies.



Entry filed under: English, Falstaff, Hart Crane, Poems about Movies.

Noir A Postcard from the Volcano

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ian Thal  |  August 14, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Chaplin, of course, is across a number of different fields, one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century: mime, clown, actor, filmmaker, choreographer, and it is hard to capture a full picture of him in a single portrait– this poem included– and as someone who has delved deep into Chaplin’s work, I just feel that Crane never gets to the essence– he gets the aspect of the Tramp as melancholy Pierrot, but even Pierrot is more that melancholy and the Tramp is more than Pierrot.

  • 2. Caroyln Oslin  |  March 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

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  • 3. free mobile apps  |  January 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

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