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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Happy Birthday, Mr. Crane

Voyages (by Hart Crane)

 

I

 

Above the fresh ruffles of the surf

Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand.   

They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks,   

And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed   

Gaily digging and scattering.

 

And in answer to their treble interjections   

The sun beats lightning on the waves,   

The waves fold thunder on the sand;

And could they hear me I would tell them:

 

O brilliant kids, frisk with your dog,   

Fondle your shells and sticks, bleached

By time and the elements; but there is a line   

You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it   

Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses   

Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.   

The bottom of the sea is cruel.

 

 

II

 

—And yet this great wink of eternity,

Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,   

Samite sheeted and processioned where   

Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,   

Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

 

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells   

On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,

The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends   

As her demeanors motion well or ill,   

All but the pieties of lovers’ hands.

 

And onward, as bells off San Salvador   

Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,

In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,—

Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,

Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

 

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,   

And hasten while her penniless rich palms   

Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,—

Hasten, while they are true,—sleep, death, desire,   

Close round one instant in one floating flower.

 

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.   

O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,

Bequeath us to no earthly shore until

Is answered in the vortex of our grave

The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

 

 

III

 

Infinite consanguinity it bears—

This tendered theme of you that light   

Retrieves from sea plains where the sky   

Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones;   

While ribboned water lanes I wind

Are laved and scattered with no stroke   

Wide from your side, whereto this hour   

The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.

 

And so, admitted through black swollen gates   

That must arrest all distance otherwise,—

Past whirling pillars and lithe pediments,   

Light wrestling there incessantly with light,   

Star kissing star through wave on wave unto   

Your body rocking!

                            and where death, if shed,   

Presumes no carnage, but this single change,—

Upon the steep floor flung from dawn to dawn   

The silken skilled transmemberment of song;

 

Permit me voyage, love, into your hands ...   

 

 

IV

 

Whose counted smile of hours and days, suppose   

I know as spectrum of the sea and pledge   

Vastly now parting gulf on gulf of wings

Whose circles bridge, I know, (from palms to the severe   

Chilled albatross’s white immutability)   

No stream of greater love advancing now   

Than, singing, this mortality alone   

Through clay aflow immortally to you.

 

All fragrance irrefragably, and claim   

Madly meeting logically in this hour   

And region that is ours to wreathe again,   

Portending eyes and lips and making told   

The chancel port and portion of our June—

 

Shall they not stem and close in our own steps   

Bright staves of flowers and quills today as I   

Must first be lost in fatal tides to tell?

 

In signature of the incarnate word

The harbor shoulders to resign in mingling

Mutual blood, transpiring as foreknown

And widening noon within your breast for gathering   

All bright insinuations that my years have caught   

For islands where must lead inviolably

Blue latitudes and levels of your eyes,—

 

In this expectant, still exclaim receive   

The secret oar and petals of all love.

 

 

V

 

Meticulous, past midnight in clear rime,   

Infrangible and lonely, smooth as though cast   

Together in one merciless white blade—

The bay estuaries fleck the hard sky limits.

 

—As if too brittle or too clear to touch!   

The cables of our sleep so swiftly filed,

Already hang, shred ends from remembered stars.   

One frozen trackless smile ... What words   

Can strangle this deaf moonlight? For we

 

Are overtaken. Now no cry, no sword   

Can fasten or deflect this tidal wedge,

Slow tyranny of moonlight, moonlight loved   

And changed ... “There’s

 

Nothing like this in the world,” you say,   

Knowing I cannot touch your hand and look   

Too, into that godless cleft of sky

Where nothing turns but dead sands flashing.

 

“—And never to quite understand!” No,

In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed   

Nothing so flagless as this piracy.

 

                                              But now

Draw in your head, alone and too tall here.   

Your eyes already in the slant of drifting foam;   

Your breath sealed by the ghosts I do not know:   

Draw in your head and sleep the long way home.

 

 

VI

 

Where icy and bright dungeons lift   

Of swimmers their lost morning eyes,   

And ocean rivers, churning, shift   

Green borders under stranger skies,

 

Steadily as a shell secretes

Its beating leagues of monotone,

Or as many waters trough the sun’s   

Red kelson past the cape’s wet stone;

 

O rivers mingling toward the sky   

And harbor of the phoenix’ breast—

My eyes pressed black against the prow,   

—Thy derelict and blinded guest

 

Waiting, afire, what name, unspoke,   

I cannot claim: let thy waves rear   

More savage than the death of kings,   

Some splintered garland for the seer.

 

Beyond siroccos harvesting

The solstice thunders, crept away,   

Like a cliff swinging or a sail

Flung into April’s inmost day—

 

Creation’s blithe and petalled word   

To the lounged goddess when she rose   

Conceding dialogue with eyes

That smile unsearchable repose—

 

Still fervid covenant, Belle Isle,   

—Unfolded floating dais before

Which rainbows twine continual hair—

Belle Isle, white echo of the oar!

 

The imaged Word, it is, that holds   

Hushed willows anchored in its glow.   

It is the unbetrayable reply

Whose accent no farewell can know.

 

Hart Crane, "Voyages I, II, III, IV, V, VI" from The Complete Poems of Hart Crane, edited by Marc Simon. Copyright © 1933, 1958, 1966 by Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1986 by Marc Simon. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing.

 

Source: The Complete Poems of Hart Crane (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2001)

Untitled (Blue, Green, & Brown): oil on canvas: Mark Rothko: 1952

The TV said the planes have hit the buildings.

& I said Yes because you asked me to stay.

Maybe we pray on our knees because the lord

only listens when we're this close

to the devil.There is so much I want to tell you.

How my greatest accolade was to walk

across the Brooklyn Bridge & not think

of flight. How we live like water: touching

a new tongue with no telling

what we've been through. They say the is sky is blue

but I know it's black seen through too much air.

You will always remember what you were doing

when it hurts the most. There is so much

I want to tell you—but I only earned

one life. & I took nothing. Nothing. Like a pair of teeth

at the end. The TV kept saying The planes...

The planes...& I stood waiting in the room

made from broken mocking birds. Their wings throbbing

into four blurred walls. Only you were there.

You were the window.

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