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The Air Plant

Harold Hart Crane 1899 (Garrettsville, Ohio) – 1932 (Gulf of Mexico)



Grand Cayman

This tuft that thrives on saline nothingness,
Inverted octopus with heavenward arms
Thrust parching from a palm-bole hard by the cove⎯
A bird almost⎯of almost bird alarms,

Is pulmonary to the wind that jars
Its tentacles, horrific in their lurch.
The lizard’s throat, held bloated for a fly,
Balloons but warily from this throbbing perch.

The needles and hack-saws of cactus bleed
A milk of earth when stricken off the stalk;
But this,⎯defenseless, thornless, sheds no blood,
Almost no shadow⎯but the air’s thin talk.

Angelic Dynamo! Ventriloquist of the Blue!
While beachward creeps the shark-swept Spanish Main
By what conjunctions do the winds appoint
Its apotheosis, at last⎯the hurricane!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Harold Hart Crane

Harold Hart Crane was an American poet. Finding both inspiration and provocation in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that was difficult, highly stylized, and ambitious in its scope. In his most ambitious work, The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem, in the vein of The Waste Land, that expressed a more optimistic view of modern, urban culture than the one that he found in Eliot's work. In the years following his suicide at the age of 32, Crane has been hailed by playwrights, poets, and literary critics alike (including Robert Lowell, Derek Walcott, Tennessee Williams, and Harold Bloom), as being one of the most influential poets of his generation.  more…

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