Poems

The Black Riders and Other Lines by Stephen Crane

 

I

Black riders came from the sea.

There was clang and clang of spear and shield,

And clash and clash of hoof and heel,

Wild shouts and the wave of hair

In the rush upon the wind:

Thus the ride of sin.

 

[This poem packs an epic feel into six lines.]

 

II

Three little birds in a row

Sat musing.

A man passed near that place

Then did the little birds nudge each other.

 

They said: “He thinks he can sing.”

They threw back their heads to laugh.

With quaint countenances

They regarded him.

They were very curious

Those three little birds in a row.

 

[I like the absurdity of this poem clashing with how self-important the birds consider themselves.  Crane’s treatment of the birds is as curious as the birds themselves.]

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