Harold Hart Crane

(21 July 1899 – 27 April 1932 / Garrettsville, Ohio)

Voyages I - Poem by Harold 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.

Form: Sonnet

Comments about Voyages I by Harold Hart Crane

  • A. S.h. (11/1/2015 7:42:00 AM)

    This is only part one of the long poem Voyages. It's not great to present it split up like this. Readers new to it may not know to click next poem in order to continue. And it is certainly not a sonnet. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • John Richter (5/13/2015 6:43:00 AM)

    The world according to urchins.... Never been a fan of modern poetry where words are often used only for their auditorial aesthetic value and not their meanings.... As in real life beauty never replaces substance. Not when something really matters, really counts. The literal translation of the words in this poem - as I understand them - is that urchins are reporting that there are children - bound by ropes (cordage) - and resting on the bottom of the sea. Where they are obviously dead. Was that Crane's intention? With modern poetry - who knows? His intention might have simply been wow, these words look really cool next to one another. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 12, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, December 18, 2014

[Report Error]