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There Was a Man Who Lived a Life of Fire (The Black Riders LXII) -- Stephen Crane

       
(Poem #264) There Was a Man Who Lived a Life of Fire (The Black Riders LXII)
 There was a man who lived a life of fire.
 Even upon the fabric of time,
 Where purple becomes orange
 And orange purple,
 This life glowed,
 A dire red stain, indelible;
 Yet when he was dead,
 He saw that he had not lived.
-- Stephen Crane
We've had a poem by Crane quite recently, but I thought this made a perfect
followup to 'Recompense'. Crane, characteristically enough, sets up all the
standard images, then turns them on thier heads with the final lines.

I've already said that one of the things I like about Crane is his ability
to challenge set world-views and make the reader think; while today's poem
certainly satisfies this, it also exhibits Crane's sheer skill as a poet.
Yes, the central theme of the first six lines is thoroughly standard; still,
Crane has handled it with both vividness and economy. Indeed, the ending was
a bit of a disappointment; I felt that the first six lines would have made a
wonderful poem in their own right, and while I can see his reasons both for
the change of tone and the almost antipoetic[1] way in which it was
expressed, I still feel that neither the idea nor its juxtaposition with the
first theme were original enough to compensate for the letdown.

[1] yes, this is a technical term. no, I am not using it in its technical
sense.

Links:

More about Crane at poem #196

Recompense is at poem #261

I've done a somewhat related theme on death in the flames
   - see poem #34, poem #36, and poem #38.

m.

5 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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Interesting poem I didn't understand exactly the meaning of the poem I mean the main concept, because we can think that's referred to a man who work hard in order to reach his goals.m10m

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