Once I saw mountains angry,
And ranged in battle-front.
Against them stood a little man;
Aye, he was no bigger than my finger.
I laughed, and spoke to one near me,
“Will he prevail?”
“Surely,” replied this other;
“His grandfathers beat them many times.”
Then did I see much virtue in grandfathers —
At least, for the little man
Who stood against the mountains.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem Once I saw mountains angry


  1. Stephan says:

    This poem concerns the fact that we often overlook the task before others, and only acknowledge the successes of those before them. The little man against angry mountains is a joke to the man, and he does not see success in the little man, but when the nieghbooring man acknowledges the other little men that succeded then the man is impressed by the ‘grandfathers’ and still scolds the little man inevetably until the little an can accomplish what his grandfathers have. In short, people are worthless until they accompish something…

  2. Chris says:

    I think the poem points out the daunting task of creating more good than evil in the world. It seems impossible, but with some faith that it will happen, the miraculous prevails. The power of completing this task does not lie within us, but within Jesus Christ who lives in us. While we live in this world that only seeks instant gratification, we can overcome mountains of sin, along with all opposition, with His help.

  3. sum1 says:

    i think this poem tells us that size does not matter… and even though he is so small he might still be able to defeat the “mountain” which is a symbol of big and strong people.

  4. micheala says:

    okay,i really enjoyed this poem couse i could relate to it i actually understood it unlike all the other poems they were like gibergaber.lol.

  5. B.E. says:

    I enjoy this poem much, I believe the mountains to be a simple simile. And as for the Grandfather? I say yes

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