The Glass Bubbles

By Samuel Greenberg 1893–1917 Samuel Greenberg
The motion of gathering loops of water
Must either burst or remain in a moment.
The violet colors through the glass
Throw up little swellings that appear
And spatter as soon as another strikes
And is born; so pure are they of colored
Hues, that we feel the absent strength
Of its power. When they begin they gather
Like sand on the beach: each bubble
Contains a complete eye of water.

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

 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 Though his work was unpublished during his lifetime, he had a profound effect on Hart Crane, who took inspiration from Greenberg’s sonically dense and richly imaged lyricism; scholars .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

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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