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A Man Feared... (The Black Riders LVI) -- Stephen Crane

       
(Poem #253) A Man Feared... (The Black Riders LVI)
  A man feared that he might find an assassin;
  Another that he might find a victim.
  One was more wise than the other.
-- Stephen Crane
Today's poem, it would seem, scarce deserves the name - it lacks most of
those qualities that one associates with the explicitly poetic. And yet, it
is one of my favourite verses from The Black Riders - in its beautifully
self-contained ambiguity it seems to embody McLeish's injunction that "a
poem should not mean, but be".

Links:

For a more general discussion of Crane's poetry, including a biography, see
poem #196

McLeish's poem, Ars Poetica, can be found at poem #188

And the complete text of The Black Riders (which you are strongly urged to
read, in that this poem deserves to be read in its larger context) is
available at the Poets' Corner,
<[broken link] http://geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/crane02.html>.

m.

37 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Martin DeMello said...

I am reminded of the following Bernard Shaw quote, from "Man and Superman":

"When we learn to sing that Britons never will be masters we shall make an end
of slavery."

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