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Questions for Hart Crane

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Questions for Hart Crane

Bi Janus

for Myron Ochshorn (1920-2012)

Were you difficult

because of coyness?

In my youth I struggled

with you, and you

held me tight all the way

into the sea.

In my age,

ashore, you are

the last one who

moves me to weep.

The veneer of indirectness

cannot conceal you.

Whom did you think

you would disappoint,

one woman among

all the men, not enough?

Did you think the Gulf

tenderer than your

own drunken judgment?

And all because you

were on your knees

before those sailor boys

as Winter’s crowd,

protesting the whole while,

was before you unable

to help itself.

In my youth

I thought you

another Blake.

I know better

in age.

Still, while I would converse

with Eliot across

a linen-covered table,

with you I would

sneak to the back row

of a second-run cinema

under the flickering projector

to savor the touch

of your shoulder

on mine in the darkness.

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Thanks, James. While reading your kind comment, I realized that I had misplaced the apostrophe in Yvor Winters' name. The edit function, alas, won't let me make the change.

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