A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Friday, April 9, 2010

Poem of the Day: Hart Crane

Chaplinesque 

We 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. 
--Hart Crane 

True, there are poems by Crane that seem to me to be nothing more than word salad, but this is not one of them. I think it perfectly conveys both the comic and the sentimental Chaplin, even if like all of Crane's poems it's really about Hart (see "heart" above).