The Broken Tower Poem by Harold Hart Crane

The Broken Tower

Rating: 3.4

The bell-rope that gathers God at dawn
Dispatches me as though I dropped down the knell
Of a spent day - to wander the cathedral lawn
From pit to crucifix, feet chill on steps from hell.

Have you not heard, have you not seen that corps
Of shadows in the tower, whose shoulders sway
Antiphonal carillons launched before
The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray?

The bells, I say, the bells break down their tower;
And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave
Membrane through marrow, my long-scattered score
Of broken intervals… And I, their sexton slave!

Oval encyclicals in canyons heaping
The impasse high with choir. Banked voices slain!
Pagodas campaniles with reveilles out leaping-
O terraced echoes prostrate on the plain!…

And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.

My world I poured. But was it cognate, scored
Of that tribunal monarch of the air
Whose thighs embronzes earth, strikes crystal Word
In wounds pledges once to hope - cleft to despair?

The steep encroachments of my blood left me
No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower
As flings the question true?) -or is it she
Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?-

And through whose pulse I hear, counting the strokes
My veins recall and add, revived and sure
The angelus of wars my chest evokes:
What I hold healed, original now, and pure…

And builds, within, a tower that is not stone
(Not stone can jacket heaven) - but slip
Of pebbles, - visible wings of silence sown
In azure circles, widening as they dip

The matrix of the heart, lift down the eyes
That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower…
The commodious, tall decorum of that sky
Unseals her earth, and lifts love in its shower.

Neil Stewart Mcleod 02 May 2018

Now I get the prairie dogs, but I have searched hard and long to find the tempered catholic logic this lexicon of stanzas pours out like a bubbling stream, beautifully concealing its intent. It reads beautifully Neil

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Susan Williams 21 July 2016

The image of the tower. What tower? Well, a bell tower naturally jumps to mind. But there are other towers. The Tower of Babel. The Ivory Tower. A human body. Hmm. The last thought intrigues me. With that symbol we could go nuts talking about the human condition with its imperfections, hope, despair, and love. Or maybe its just a bell tower.....

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Susan Williams 27 July 2016

Sandra, you tickle me to death! ! ! I prefer Hostess Cupcakes though they would make a sound like smoosh- smoosh- smoosh in that bell tower.

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Sandra Feldman 21 July 2016

Just a Bell tower, that's it, we're just a bunch of Ding-Dongs trying to survive in the length of sound.

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James Mclain 21 July 2016

Frog's can't jump to high yet inevitably when a bird flies to low it hits the windshield of a car.. iip

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Edward Kofi Louis 21 July 2016

Shadows in the tower! ! Thanks for sharing.

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Justin Gonzalez 25 November 2012

I wish I wrote this poem. But since it has already been written, I wish I could one day write a poem that is anywhere near as good.

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Harold Hart Crane

Harold Hart Crane

Garrettsville, Ohio
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