Harry Kemp

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Biography

Harry Hibbard Kemp was an American poet and prose writer of the twentieth century. He was known as (and promoted himself as) "the "Vagabond Poet, the Villon of America, the Hobo Poet, or the Tramp Poet," and was a well-known popular literary figure of his era, the "hero of adolescent Americans."

Life and Work

Kemp was born in Youngstow ...

Popular Poems
1.
Blind

The Spring blew trumpets of color;
Her Green sang in my brain --
I heard a blind man groping
"Tap -- tap" with his cane;
...

2.
A Seaman's Confession Of Faith

As long as I go forth on ships that sail
The mighty seas, my faith, O Lord, won't fail;
And while the stars march onward mightily
...

3.
A Sailor's Life

Oh, a sailor hasn't much to brag -
An oilskin suit and a dunnage bag.
But, howsoever humble he be,
By the Living God, he has the sea!
...

4.
The Doldrums (A Still-Life Picture)

The sails hang dead, or they lift and flap like a cornfield scarecrow's coat,
And the seabirds swim abreast of us like ducks that play, a-float,
...

5.
The Remedy

When you've failed with ordered people, when you've sunk neck-deep again
In the sluggish wash and jetsam of the slackened tides of men,
Don't get old and mean and bitter, - there's a primal remedy -
Just take a ship to sea, my lad, just take a ship to sea.
...

Comments

frank x. gaspar 15 December 2017

Harry Kemp was from Youngstown, Ohio, but he died in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he was known locally as the poet of dunes. (see Cape Cod, etc.)

1 0 Reply

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