I stood musing in a black world,
Not knowing where to direct my feet.
And I saw the quick stream of men
Pouring ceaselessly,
Filled with eager faces,
A torrent of desire.
I called to them,
“Where do you go? What do you see?”
A thousand voices called to me.
A thousand fingers pointed.
“Look! look! There!”

I know not of it.
But, lo! In the far sky shone a radiance
Ineffable, divine —
A vision painted upon a pall;
And sometimes it was,
And sometimes it was not.
I hesitated.
Then from the stream
Came roaring voices,
“Look! look! There!”

So again I saw,
And leaped, unhesitant,
And struggled and fumed
With outspread clutching fingers.
The hard hills tore my flesh;
The ways bit my feet.
At last I looked again.
No radiance in the far sky,
Ineffable, divine;
No vision painted upon a pall;
And always my eyes ached for the light.
Then I cried in despair,
“I see nothing! Oh, where do I go?”
The torrent turned again its faces:
“Look! look! There!”

And at the blindness of my spirit
They screamed,
“Fool! fool! fool!”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem I stood musing in a black world


  1. Joshua says:

    Crane’s perspective on the world is different from that of of the general majority. Beauty, divinity, and God in that “black world” is something that he can not fully comprehend or experience, even though he has already seen a glimpse of it.

  2. leonard says:

    it may be that Crane speaks of the inability to attain what one seeks. And flashes of such desirable things is what motivates the masses. But he may equally- or in most likelihood – be speaking not of this.

  3. Joshua says:

    Here I think Crane is writing about his inability to see what everyone else does. People all over are amazed by God, but Crane sees nothing at all in this God..he is not amazed.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    WOW!!! that is all i can say, im still soaking it in, i like it but there are SO MANY different interperitations to it!

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