East River’s Charm

By Samuel Greenberg 1893–1917 Samuel Greenberg
Is this the river East I heard?—
Where the ferries, tugs and sailboats stirred
And the reaching wharves from the inner land
Ourstretched, like the harmless receiving hand—
 
And the silvery tinge that sparkles aloud
Like the brilliant white demons, which a tide has towed
From the rays of the morning sun
Which it doth ceaselessly shine upon.
 
But look at the depth of the drippling tide
The dripples, reripples like the locusts astride;
As the boat turns upon the silvery spread
It leaves—strange—a shadow dead.
 
And the very charms from the reflective river
And from the stacks of the floating boat—
There seemeth the quality ne’er to dissever
Like the ruffles from the mystified smoke.

Source: The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006)

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Poet Samuel Greenberg 1893–1917

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Samuel  Greenberg

Biography

Samuel Greenberg was born in Vienna, Austria in 1893. He came to New York when he was seven and lived, first in poverty and then in a series of charity hospitals, on the Lower East Side. Greenberg died on Wards Island at age 23 of tuberculosis. Though his work was unpublished during his lifetime, he had a profound effect on Hart Crane, who took inspiration from Greenberg’s sonically dense and richly imaged lyricism; scholars . . .

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Poems by Samuel Greenberg

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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