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Thread: Poetry discussion thread

  1. #1

    Poetry discussion thread

    Seeing as how I don't want to wait till Friday to post this as a poem of the week I figured I'd start my own Poem of the Week thread that posts on Mondays. Does this work for everyone? I don't see the harm in posting multiple poems of the week in separate threads to allow more discussions.


    To Brooklyn Bridge
    by Hart Crane

    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.

  2. #2
    Hmmm, maybe it'd help if I lied and said this was for homework.

    Anyhow, I follow the poem pretty well until the penultimate stanza. I assume he is saying that he relates best to the bridge, and looks at it more as an icon, when he is not overcome by the burdens of everday life. It's sort of a poem about defying one's environment.

    Anyone else have anything to add?

  3. #3
    No one cares to discuss this poem?

  4. #4
    Registered User jackyyyy's Avatar
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    I don't know why, feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wall street, ghostly quiet like most downtown cities at that moment, kind of grey and empty.

    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!


    I am considering 'Thee' and 'silver-paced'. The image is still forming in my head, quiet, somber, yet a colourless existence somehow, and some grey dream and something/one he is looking at/to. I just read it so I don't know much, and you're right to post to it, to make sure it gets noticed. It looks very powerful just from the time I have spent on it.
    Art is art.

  5. #5
    I see the first stanza as saying that the seagull, a symbol of life without burdensome preoccupation, "building high/ Over the chained bay waters Liberty" has somehow become a sight that shares the curveship with the bridge. Only the bridge is built by the hand of man, who's life does not share the carefree attitude that the seagull represents. The poem celebrates this achievement in the face of an unworthy predicament of sorts.

  6. #6
    Registered User jackyyyy's Avatar
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    How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
    The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him,


    For eternity, the seagull's, like angels, wings have guided, but this is all they can do, it seems.

    O Sleepless as the river under thee,
    Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod,


    Across the man-made bridge, life's journey, is Liberty, between the prairie and the Atlantic. Holding the sea back from the prairie's dreaming sod. As if the sea needs to be held back. Not the prairie, which would seem more natural. Like, the sea wants to get in, breach the vault, not the other way around. Or, is it defending the prairie?

    Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
    And of the curveship lend a myth to God.


    The daily apparition is a man made reminder and this last part, 'lend a myth to God', a deliberate ambiguity here?

    From what I know of New York, there is Manhattan Island, Rhode Island and then Liberty is inbetween. So yes, there is the Atlantic, but is that what he means? There is something religious going on, not sure what.
    Art is art.

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