i explain the silvered passing of a ship at night

by Stephen Crane

Image: Robert Foster via spacesarchives.org
Image: Robert Foster via spacesarchives.org

I explain the silvered passing of a ship at night,
The sweep of each sad lost wave
The dwindling boom of the steel thing’s striving
The little cry of a man to a man
A shadow falling across the greyer night
And the sinking of the small star.

Then the waste, the far waste of waters
And the soft lashing of black waves
For long and in loneliness.

Remember, thou, O ship of love
Thou leavest a far waste of waters
And the soft lashing of black waves
For long and in loneliness.

A three-story brick house at 14 Mulberry Place was home to Stephen Crane from his birth in 1871 until 1874. Efforts to save the Crane homestead as a historic site failed. It was razed in 1940, some of the bricks being incorporated into a playground on the site. No traces of this playground remain today.

Author of the celebrated war novel The Red Badge of Courage, Crane published his second book of poems, War Is Kind, in 1899. It featured the lines above.

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