Harold Hart Crane

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

The Tunnel

Performances, assortments, résumés? 
Up Times Square to Columbus Circle lights 
Channel the congresses, nightly sessions, 
Refractions of the thousand theatres, faces? 
Mysterious kitchens. . . . You shall search them all. 
Someday by heart you?ll learn each famous sight 
And watch the curtain lift in hell?s despite; 
You?ll find the garden in the third act dead, 
Finger your knees?and wish yourself in bed 
With tabloid crime-sheets perched in easy sight. 

Then let you reach your hat 
and go. 
As usual, let you?also 
walking down?exclaim 
to twelve upward leaving 
a subscription praise 
for what time slays. 

Or can?t you quite make up your mind to ride; 
A walk is better underneath the L a brisk 
Ten blocks or so before? But you find yourself 
Preparing penguin flexions of the arms,? 
As usual you will meet the scuttle yawn: 
The subway yawns the quickest promise home. 

Be minimum, then, to swim the hiving swarms 
Out of the Square, the Circle burning bright? 
Avoid the glass doors gyring at your right, 
Where boxed alone a second, eyes take fright 
?Quite unprepared rush naked back to light: 
And down beside the turnstile press the coin 
Into the slot. The gongs already rattle. 

And so 
of cities you bespeak 
subways, rivered under streets 
and rivers. . . . In the car 
the overtone of motion 
underground, the monotone 
of motion is the sound 
of other faces, also underground? 

?Let?s have a pencil Jimmy?living now 
at Floral Park 
Flatbush?on the fourth of July? 
like a pigeon?s muddy dream?potatoes 
to dig in the field?travlin the town?too? 
night after night?the Culver line?the 
girls all shaping up?it used to be?? 

Our tongues recant like beaten weather vanes. 
This answer lives like verdigris, like hair 
Beyond extinction, surcease of the bone; 
And repetition freezes??What 

?what do you want? getting weak on the links? 
fandaddle daddy don?t ask for change?IS THIS 
FOURTEENTH it?s half past six she said?if 
you don?t like my gate why did you 
swing on it, why didja 
swing on it 

And somehow anyhow swing? 

The phonographs of hades in the brain 
Are tunnels that re-wind themselves, and love 
A burnt match skating in a urinal? 
Somewhere above Fourteenth TAKE THE EXPRESS 
To brush some new presentiment of pain? 

?But I want service in this office SERVICE 
I said?after 
the show she cried a little afterwards but?? 

Whose head is swinging from the swollen strap? 
Whose body smokes along the bitten rails, 
Bursts from a smoldering bundle far behind 
In back forks of the chasms of the brain,? 
Puffs from a riven stump far out behind 
In interborough fissures of the mind . . . ? 

And why do I often meet your visage here, 
Your eyes like agate lanterns?on and on 
Below the toothpaste and the dandruff ads? 
?And did their riding eyes right through your side, 
And did their eyes like unwashed platters ride? 
And Death, aloft,?gigantically down 
Probing through you?toward me, O evermore! 
And when they dragged your retching flesh, 
Your trembling hands that night through Baltimore? 
That last night on the ballot rounds, did you, 
Shaking, did you deny the ticket, Poe? 

For Gravesend Manor change at Chambers Street. 
The platform hurries along to a dead stop. 

The intent escalator lifts a serenade 
Of shoes, umbrellas, each eye attending its shoe, then 
Bolting outright somewhere above where streets 
Burst suddenly in rain. . . . The gongs recur: 
Elbows and levers, guard and hissing door. 
Thunder is galvothermic here below. . . . The car 
Wheels off. The train rounds, bending to a scream, 
Taking the final level for the dive 
Under the river? 
And somewhat emptier than before, 
Demented, for a hitching second, humps; then 
Lets go. . . . Toward corners of the floor 
Newspapers wing, revolve and wing. 
Blank windows gargle signals through the roar. 

And does the Daemon take you home, also, 
Wop washerwoman, with the bandaged hair? 
After the corridors are swept, the cuspidors? 
The gaunt sky-barracks cleanly now, and bare, 
O Genoese, do you bring mother eyes and hands 
Back home to children and to golden hair? 

Daemon, demurring and eventful yawn! 
Whose hideous laughter is a bellows mirth 
?Or the muffled slaughter of a day in birth? 
O cruelly to inoculate the brinking dawn 
With antennae toward worlds that glow and sink;? 
To spoon us out more liquid than the dim 
Locution of the eldest star, and pack 
The conscience navelled in the plunging wind, 
Umbilical to call?and straightway die! 

O caught like pennies beneath soot an