This is the eighth poem in Hart Crane’s epic poem, The Bridge. It is a very dense poem, that echoes some other major works of literature, particularly Moby Dick, and The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. Hart Crane called it something of a fugue because it interleaves a sailor’s story, with the poet’s dreams and observations.
The poem starts in a bar on South Street, with the sailor telling his somewhat rambling story, and ends with the poet crossing the BB, dreaming of phantom clipper ships from America’s glorious sailing past.
I chose to focus on the themes of Atlantis (a recurring theme), crossing the bridge, the search for love (the ancient myth of Leander and Hero), the search for America’s future.