Poetry, VOLUME 8

Stephen Crane – “Yes, I Have A Thousand Tongues” [Poem]

StephenCrane1899Stephen Crane, poet and novelist (author of [easyazon_link asin=”B0083ZHYIU” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]The Red Badge of Courage[/easyazon_link]) died on this day in 1900.

Stephen Crane (November 1, 1871 – June 5, 1900) was an American author. Prolific throughout his short life, he wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism. He is recognized by modern critics as one of the most innovative writers of his generation.

The eighth surviving child of Methodist parents, Crane began writing at the age of four and had published several articles by the age of 16. Having little interest in university studies, he left college in 1891 to work as a reporter and writer. Crane’s first novel was the 1893 Bowery tale Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, generally considered by critics to be the first work of American literary Naturalism. He won international acclaim in 1895 for his Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, which he wrote without having any battle experience. (via Wikipedia)

 

Here’s a favorite poem of his…

 

“Yes, I Have A Thousand Tongues”
Stephen Crane

(Found in The Black Riders and Other Lines)

 
IV

Yes, I have a thousand tongues,
And nine and ninety-nine lie.
Though I strive to use the one,
It will make no melody at my will,
But is dead in my mouth.

V

Once there came a man
Who said,
“Range me all men of the world in rows.”
And instantly
There was terrific clamor among the people
Against being ranged in rows.
There was a loud quarrel, world-wide.
It endured for ages;
And blood was shed
By those who would not stand in rows,
And by those who pined to stand in rows,
Eventually, the man went to death, weeping.
And those who staid in bloody scuffle
Knew not the great simplicity.

 




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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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