Harold Hart Crane

Here you will find the Long Poem Atlantis of poet Harold Hart Crane


Through the bound cable strands, the arching path 
Upward, veering with light, the flight of strings,? 
Taut miles of shuttling moonlight syncopate 
The whispered rush, telepathy of wires. 
Up the index of night, granite and steel? 
Transparent meshes?fleckless the gleaming staves? 
Sibylline voices flicker, waveringly stream 
As though a god were issue of the strings. . . . 

And through that cordage, threading with its call 
One arc synoptic of all tides below? 
Their labyrinthine mouths of history 
Pouring reply as though all ships at sea 
Complighted in one vibrant breath made cry,? 
?Make thy love sure?to weave whose song we ply!? 
?From black embankments, moveless soundings hailed, 
So seven oceans answer from their dream. 

And on, obliquely up bright carrier bars 
New octaves trestle the twin monoliths 
Beyond whose frosted capes the moon bequeaths 
Two worlds of sleep (O arching strands of song!)? 
Onward and up the crystal-flooded aisle 
White tempest nets file upward, upward ring 
With silver terraces the humming spars, 
The loft of vision, palladium helm of stars. 

Sheerly the eyes, like seagulls stung with rime? 
Slit and propelled by glistening fins of light? 
Pick biting way up towering looms that press 
Sidelong with flight of blade on tendon blade 
?Tomorrows into yesteryear?and link 
What cipher-script of time no traveller reads 
But who, through smoking pyres of love and death, 
Searches the timeless laugh of mythic spears. 

Like hails, farewells?up planet-sequined heights 
Some trillion whispering hammers glimmer Tyre: 
Serenely, sharply up the long anvil cry 
Of inchling aeons silence rivets Troy. 
And you, aloft there?Jason! hesting Shout! 
Still wrapping harness to the swarming air! 
Silvery the rushing wake, surpassing call, 
Beams yelling Aeolus! splintered in the straits! 

From gulfs unfolding, terrible of drums, 
Tall Vision-of-the-Voyage, tensely spare? 
Bridge, lifting night to cycloramic crest 
Of deepest day?O Choir, translating time 
Into what multitudinous Verb the suns 
And synergy of waters ever fuse, recast 
In myriad syllables,?Psalm of Cathay! 
O Love, thy white, pervasive Paradigm . . . ! 

We left the haven hanging in the night 
Sheened harbor lanterns backward fled the keel. 
Pacific here at time?s end, bearing corn,? 
Eyes stammer through the pangs of dust and steel. 
And still the circular, indubitable frieze 
Of heaven?s meditation, yoking wave 
To kneeling wave, one song devoutly binds? 
The vernal strophe chimes from deathless strings! 

O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits 
The agile precincts of the lark?s return; 
Within whose lariat sweep encinctured sing 
In single chrysalis the many twain,? 
Of stars Thou art the stitch and stallion glow 
And like an organ, Thou, with sound of doom? 
Sight, sound and flesh Thou leadest from time?s realm 
As love strikes clear direction for the helm. 

Swift peal of secular light, intrinsic Myth 
Whose fell unshadow is death?s utter wound,? 
O River-throated?iridescently upborne 
Through the bright drench and fabric of our veins; 
With white escarpments swinging into light, 
Sustained in tears the cities are endowed 
And justified conclamant with ripe fields 
Revolving through their harvests in sweet torment. 

Forever Deity?s glittering Pledge, O Thou 
Whose canticle fresh chemistry assigns 
To wrapt inception and beatitude,? 
Always through blinding cables, to our joy, 
Of thy white seizure springs the prophecy: 
Always through spiring cordage, pyramids 
Of silver sequel, Deity?s young name 
Kinetic of white choiring wings . . . ascends. 

Migrations that must needs void memory, 
Inventions that cobblestone the heart,? 
Unspeakable Thou Bridge to Thee, O Love. 
Thy pardon for this history, whitest Flower, 
O Answerer of all,?Anemone,? 
Now while thy petals spend the suns about us, hold? 
(O Thou whose radiance doth inherit me) 
Atlantis,?hold thy floating singer late! 

So to thine Everpresence, beyond time, 
Like spears ensanguined of one tolling star 
That bleeds infinity?the orphic strings, 
Sidereal phalanxes, leap and converge: 
?One Song, one Bridge of Fire! Is it Cathay, 
Now pity steeps the grass and rainbows ring 
The serpent with the eagle in the leaves. . . . ? 
Whispers antiphonal in azure swing.