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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Hart Crane - Porphyro in Akron


Greeting the dawn,
A shift of rubber workers presses down
South Main.
With the stubbornness of muddy water

It dwindles at each cross-line
Until you feel the weight of many cars
North-bound, and East and West,
Absorbing and conveying weariness, —
Rumbling over the hills.

Akron, “high place” —
A bunch of smoke-ridden hills
Among rolling Ohio hills.

The dark-skinned Greeks grin at each other
in the streets and alleys.
The Greek grins and fights with the Swede, —
And the Fjords and the Aegean are remembered.

The plough, the sword,
The trowel, — and the monkey wrench!
O City, your axles need not the oil of song.
I will whisper words to myself
And put them in my pockets.
I will go and pitch quoits with old men
In the dust of a road.


And some of them “will be Americans” ,
Using the latest ice-box and buying Fords;
And others, —

I remember one Sunday noon,
Harry and I, “the gentlemen” , — seated around
A table of raisin-jack and wine, our host
Setting down a glass and saying, —

“One month, — I go back rich.
I ride black horse. ... Have many sheep.”
And his wife, like a mountain, coming in
With four tiny black-eyed girls around her
Twinkling like little Christmas trees.

And some Sunday fiddlers,
Roumanian business men,
Played ragtime and dances before the door,
And we overpayed them because we felt like it.


Pull down the hotel counterpane
And hitch yourself up to your book.
“Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
And threw warm gules on Madeleine’s fair breast,
As down she knelt for heaven’s grace and boon...”

“Connais tu le pays...?”

Your mother sang that in a stuffy parlour
One summer day in a little town
Where you had started to grow.
And you were outside as soon as you
Could get away from the company
To find the only rose on the bush
In the front yard. . . . . . .

But look up, Porphyro, — your toes
Are ridiculously tapping
The spindles at the foot of the bed.

The stars are drowned in a slow rain,
And a hash of noises is slung up from the street.
You ought, really, to try to sleep,
Even though, in this town, poetry’s a
Bedroom occupation.

Hart Crane - Interior

It sheds a shy solemnity,
This lamp in our poor room.
O grey and gold amenity, --
Silence and gentle gloom!

Wide from the world, a stolen hour
We claim, and none may know
How love blooms like a tardy flower
Here in the day’s after-glow.

And even should the world break in
With jealous threat and guile,
The world, at last, must bow and win
Our pity and a smile.

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.

Philip Levine - On the Meeting of Garcia Lorca and Hart Crane

Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane’s
been drinking and has no idea who
this curious Andalusian is, unable
even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them
together knows both Spanish and English,
but he has a headache from jumping
back and forth from one language
to another. For a moment’s relief
he goes to the window to look
down on the East River, darkening
below as the early night comes on.
Something flashes across his sight,
a double vision of such horror
he has to slap both his hands across
his mouth to keep from screaming.
Let’s not be frivolous, let’s
not pretend the two poets gave
each other wisdom or love or
even a good time, let’s not
invent a dialogue of such eloquence
that even the ants in your own
house won’t forget it. The two
greatest poetic geniuses alive
meet, and what happens? A vision
comes to an ordinary man staring
at a filthy river. Have you ever
had a vision? Have you ever shaken
your head to pieces and jerked back
at the image of your young son
falling through open space, not
from the stern of a ship bound
from Vera Cruz to New York but from
the roof of the building he works on?
Have you risen from bed to pace
until dawn to beg a merciless God
to take these pictures away? Oh, yes,
let’s bless the imagination. It gives
us the myths we live by. Let’s bless
the visionary power of the human—
the only animal that’s got it—,
bless the exact image of your father
dead and mine dead, bless the images
that stalk the corners of our sights
and will not let go. The young man
was my cousin, Arthur Lierberman,
then a language student at Columbia,
who told me all this before he died
quietly in his sleep in 1983
in a hotel in Perugia. A good man,
Arthur, he survived graduate school,
later came home to Detroit and sold
pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one
to compose hideous songs on,
which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Crane

Voyages (by Hart Crane)




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.





—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.





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 ...   





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.





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.





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)

Hart Crane - The Harbor Dawn

Insistently through sleep — a tide of voices —
They meet you listening midway in your dream,
The long, tired sounds, fog-insulated noises:
Gongs in white surplices, beshrouded wails,
Far strum of fog horns ... signals dispersed in veils.

And then a truck will lumber past the wharves
As winch engines begin throbbing on some deck;
Or a drunken stevedore's howl and thud below
Comes echoing alley-upward through dim snow.

And if they take your sleep away sometimes
They give it back again. Soft sleeves of sound
Attend the darkling harbor, the pillowed bay;
Somewhere out there in blankness steam

Spills into steam, and wanders, washed away
— Flurried by keen fifings, eddied
Among distant chiming buoys — adrift. The sky,

Cool feathery fold, suspends, distills
This wavering slumber. ... Slowly —
Immemorially the window, the half-covered chair
Ask nothing but this sheath of pallid air.

And you beside me, blessed now while sirens
Sing to us, stealthily weave us into day —
Serenely now, before day claims our eyes
Your cool arms murmurously about me lay.

While myriad snowy hands are clustering at the panes —
your hands within my hands are deeds;
my tongue upon your throat — singing
arms close; eyes wide, undoubtful
drink the dawn —
a forest shudders in your hair!

The window goes blond slowly. Frostily clears.
From Cyclopean towers across Manhattan waters
— Two — three bright window-eyes aglitter, disk
The sun, released — aloft with cold gulls hither.

The fog leans one last moment on the sill.
Under the mistletoe of dreams, a star —
As though to join us at some distant hill —
Turns in the waking west and goes to sleep.

Hart Crane - Legend

As silent as a mirror is believed
Realities plunge in silence by...


I am not ready for repentance;
Nor to match regrets. For the moth
Bends no more than the still
Imploring flame. And tremorous
In the white falling flakes
Kisses are,—
The only worth all granting.


It is to be learned—
This cleaving and this burning,
But only by the one who
Spends out himself again.


Twice and twice
(Again the smoking souvenir,
Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again.
Until the bright logic is won
Unwhispering as a mirror
Is believed.


Then, drop by caustic drop, a perfect cry

Shall string some constant harmony,—
Relentless caper for all those who step
The legend of their youth into the noon.

Hart Crane - To Brooklyn Bridge

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest

The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him,

Shedding white rings of tumult, building high

Over the chained bay waters Liberty--


Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes

As apparitional as sails that cross

Some page of figures to be filed away;

--Till elevators drop us from our day . . .


I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights

With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene

Never disclosed, but hastened to again,

Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;


And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced

As though the sun took step of thee, yet left

Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,--

Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!


Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft

A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,

Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,

A jest falls from the speechless caravan.


Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,

A rip-tooth of the sky's acetylene;

All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn . . .

Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.


And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,

Thy guerdon . . . Accolade thou dost bestow

Of anonymity time cannot raise:

Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.


O harp and altar, of the fury fused,

(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)

Terrific threshold of the prophet's pledge,

Prayer of pariah, and the lover's cry,--


Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift

Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,

Beading thy path--condense eternity:

And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.


Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;

Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.

The City's fiery parcels all undone,

Already snow submerges an iron year . . .


O Sleepless as the river under thee,

Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod,

Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend

And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

Hart Crane - A Name For All

Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
And still wing on, untarnished of the name
We pinion to your bodies to assuage
Our envy of your freedom—we must maim


Because we are usurpers, and chagrined—
And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
But we must die, as you, to understand.


I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.