We currently have three poems by Samuel Greenberg. You can listen to them all one after the other using the playlist below or if you prefer you can click the links further down to read a specific poem whilst listening to it.
Read and listen to East Rivers Charm
Is this the river East I heard?—
Where the ferries, tugs and sailboats stirred
And the reaching wharves from the inner land
Ourstretched, like the harmless receiving hand—
And the silvery tinge that sparkles aloud
Like the brilliant white demons, which a tide has towed
From the rays of the morning sun
Which it doth ceaselessly shine upon.
But look at the depth of the drippling tide
The dripples, reripples like the locusts astride;
As the boat turns upon the silvery spread
It leaves—strange—a shadow dead.
And the very charms from the reflective river
And from the stacks of the floating boat—
There seemeth the quality ne’er to dissever
Like the ruffles from the mystified smoke.
Read and listen to Secrecy
The apparent gale, vaned in winding storms
Has filled the air with hail and mystic frost
The peaceful alley through bowing elms revealed
Pregnant buds, where spring has failed the lewd heart
Darkness over the ocean’s deep was offering moonlight
Movable, silver, vanishing waves that enrolled
The wild summer blossom that in sanguine
Peace bared the ray of gold; until bronze
Shades of autumn quietly lowered a
Humble veil upon the ground in preservation –
Thick clouds that separate over the
Spotless blue of glazing greys. A simple
Tint vanishes, as the storm of fusion
Displays the shocking flood that vapors have gathered
Read and listen to The Glass Bubbles
The motion of gathering loops of water
Must either burst or remain in a moment.
The violet colors through the glass
Throw up little swellings that appear
And spatter as soon as another strikes
And is born; so pure are they of colored
Hues, that we feel the absent strength
Of its power. When they begin they gather
Like sand on the beach: each bubble
Contains a complete eye of water.
Read and listen to The Master's Triumph
I sat upon a rock, viewing Nature wide. Ere my plant
In secret hides this wild peace, our thought must bid;
We curious selves lie fathoms underneath, though
Holy discipline and wisdom’s joy cannot shake the placid heart.
Disdain to climb, as tender as death – and time thus vanished,
Our angel’s breath is felt – vision of our orbs through aimless rest.
The trembling heart has its limits divine, through light of man
Bares to fact and this heaven of grains, at last a sunshine
Sending its remains, silently doth ever toil, heaves an ocean,
As thy mind refuses to accept impression to satisfy;
In our fast travels and seeming blossom ne’er prove we by
Such mystic worth o’erhangs the might of powers disabled and shorn.
A voice exclaimed: “Love! wither wend we, O tiny children?”
This thrown door, eternally born, and germ home to be content with
May be a mark of century conduct, so brilliantly formed,
Lasts but within a poet’s reach, in Nature’s conquest left here,
Assuming danger and infinite silence through earthly fear – too pure
To feel asunder, sharing with starlike specks at night this uncertain force of wonder.
Behold all this jagged beauty; I bare the test alone of perfection too imperfect.
The choir spirit in order weaves its own gauge in the song of life.
O detail! must thou trail endless, as fables of yore forever create
Harmonies, while we breathe broad and simple? We pray to this
Abandoned universe; that critic looms high in chaos, whether it contains
Sensual or divine restriction . . . Or perhaps the infinite charm is cursed.
Samuel Greenberg - 1893 - 1917
Was an Austrian-American Jewish poet and artist. Greenberg grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side of New York City and spent the last years of his life in and out of charity hospitals. He died of tuberculosis in the Manhattan State Hospital on Wards Island. What little mainstream critical attention he has received has arisen through debate over the poet Hart Crane’s re-writing of several Greenberg poems, most notably “Conduct”, into “Emblems of Conduct” by Crane.
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