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April 18th JP Poem Pick

Today’s poem was chosen by Ann Putnam, and was written by Stephen Crane.

Although Stephen Crane is thought of primarily as a prose writer, he also wrote poetry in his very short life of twenty-nine years.  This poem is strong in metaphor and imagery.  Joyce Carol Oates borrowed the lines “Because It Is Bitter, Because It Is My Heart” for the title of one of her novels.

Hope you enjoy!

In the Desert

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;

But I like it

Because it is bitter

And because it is my heart.”


Wow. Very powerful piece. Thanks, Ann for sharing it with us. Because all that I knew of Stephen Crane before this month was The Red Badge of Courage, I think it would be interesting to write a war poem. Now this doesn’t have to be about military battles; it could be about any “war” that you can think of. Have fun!



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