Poetry Discussion: My Grandmother’s Love Letters

in writing exercises
Nirvana by Mario Sanchez Nevado
Nirvana by Mario Sanchez Nevado

My Grandmother’s Love Letters

by Hart Crane

There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.

There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother’s mother,
Elizabeth,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.
Over the greatness of such space
Steps must be gentle.
It is all hung by an invisible white hair.
It tremble as birch limbs webbing the air.

And I ask myself:

“Are your fingers long enough to play
Old keys that are but echoes:
Is the silence strong enough
To carry back the music to its source
And back to you again
As though to her?”

Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand
Through much of what she would not understand;
And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof
With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.

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This poems is one of my favs. I’m wondering what you think of it. I really want people to address the stanza that starts “Are your fingers long enough to play…”

Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal...check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles

1 Comment

  1. I’m a huge Hart Crane fan. Long ago in another life I used to walk out to the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge with a six pack of beer and a pretty girl and read The Bridge out loud while admiring the skyline and lights and pretending we’d actually escaped the city while perched in the no-man’s land over the river.

    That said, I don’t remember this poem. Which is a shame, because it’s absolutely exquisite. The interplay of the physical senses and the temporal tenses is dreamy and ethereal. Thank you for bringing it (back?) to my attention. Life goes by in a way that’s sometimes difficult to put our finger on exactly.

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