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On The Meeting Of García Lorca And Hart Crane Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 10

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Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane's

been drinking and has no idea who

this curious Andalusian is, unable

even to speak the language of poetry.

The young man who brought them

together knows both Spanish and English,

but he has a headache from jumping

back and forth from one language

to another. For a moment's relief

he goes to the window to look

down on the East River, darkening

below as the early light comes on.

Something flashes across his sight,

a double vision of such horror

he has to slap both his hands across

his mouth to keep from screaming.

Let's not be frivolous, let's

not pretend the two poets gave

each other wisdom or love or

even a good time, let's not

invent a dialogue of such eloquence

that even the ants in your own

house won't forget it. The two

greatest poetic geniuses alive

meet, and what happens? A vision

comes to an ordinary man staring

at a filthy river. Have you ever

had a vision? Have you ever shaken

your head to pieces and jerked back

at the image of your young son

falling through open space, not

from the stern of a ship bound

from Vera Cruz to New York but from

the roof of the building he works on?

Have you risen from bed to pace

until dawn to beg a merciless God

to take these pictures away? Oh, yes,

let's bless the imagination. It gives

us the myths we live by. Let's bless

the visionary power of the human—

the only animal that's got it—,

bless the exact image of your father

dead and mine dead, bless the images

that stalk the corners of our sight

and will not let go. The young man

was my cousin, Arthur Lieberman,

then a language student at Columbia,

who told me all this before he died

quietly in his sleep in 1983

in a hotel in Perugia. A good man,

Arthur, he survived graduate school,

later came home to Detroit and sold

pianos right through the Depression.

He loaned my brother a used one

to compose his hideous songs on,

which Arthur thought were genius.

What an imagination Arthur had!


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