A Man Said to the Universe
A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
I liked that he got right to the point, that I could understand it while it still bore pondering, & (a little too much) that he died young. In my diary, I expressed my admiration for him for not outliving his creativity.
Willa Cather knew him as a very young woman in Nebraska. She described as "a slender, narrow-chested fellow," who was "thin to emaciation" with "eyes that seemed to be burning themselves out." He told her that although The Red Badge of Courage was written in nine days, he had been "unconsciously working the detail of the story out through most of his boyhood. His ancestors had been soldiers, and he had been imagining war stories ever since he was out of knickerbockers." He had "the precocity of those doomed to die in youth. I am convinced that when I met him he had a vague premonition of the shortness of his working day."
She also trashed his book War Is Kind: "It is not kind at all, Mr.Crane; when it provokes such verses as these, it is all that Sherman said it was."