A poem to read in the bath… ‘Forgetfulness’

The two first lines of this Hart Crane poem [below] grabbed me, will grab anyone in their middle years who starts to forget the odd thing, will grab anyone who has watched by as a loved on is taken by dementia.

[photo: poetryfoundation.org]

[photo: poetryfoundation.org]

Forgetfulness is like a song
That, freed from beat and measure, wanders.
Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled.
Outspread and motionless, –
A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly.

Forgetfulness is rain at night,
Or an old house in a forest, – or a child.
Forgetfulness is white, – white as a blasted tree,
And it may stun the Sybil into prophecy,
Or bury the Gods.

I can remember much forgetfulness.

This is the first Crane poem I read, found in an anthology. He committed suicide in 1932 at the age of 32, but that hasn’t stopped him being hailed as ‘influential’. His most ambitious work is The Bridge, an epic poem described as being similar to TW Eliot’s The Waste Land.

Hart Crane


The Complete Poems of Hart Crane’ by Hart Crane [Liveright] 

Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
‘Cloughton Wyke I’ by John Wedgwood Clarke
‘Runaways’ by Daniela Nunnari
‘Lost Acres’ by Robert Graves

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Forgetfulness’ by Hart Crane http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Ma via @SandraDanby


2 thoughts on “A poem to read in the bath… ‘Forgetfulness’

  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    Thank you for reminding me of this poem. I haven’t read it for decades when I was a teenager. Back then I couldn’t comprehend the depth of anguish that forgetting something could cause. Now it has poignant meaning as I watch my mom struggle with Alzheimer’s, forgetting more of herself every day. How gifted was Crane to have intuited so young the gravity of memory. Thank you for sharing this poem, Sandra, and reminding us.



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