Havana Rose

by Hart Crane

Let us strip the desk for action-now we have a horse in Mexico.
.. That night in Vera Cruz-verily for me "the True Cross"-let us
remember the Doctor and my thoughts, my humble, fond remembrances
of the great bacteriologist. ... The wind that night, the clamour
of incessant shutters, trundle doors, and the cherub
watchman-tiptoeing the successive patio balconies with a typical pistol-
trying to muffle doors-and the pharos shine-the mid-wind
midnight stroke ot it, its milk-ight regularity above my bath partition
through the lofty, dusty glass-Cortez-Cortez-his crumbled palace
in the square-the typhus in a trap, the Doctor's rat trap. Where?
Somewhere in Vera Cruz-to bring-to take-to mix-to ransom-
to deduct-to cure. ... The rats played ring around the rosy (in their
basement basinette) the Doctor supposedly slept, supposedly in
#35-thus in my wakeful watches at least-the ighthouse flashed
.whirled...delayed, and struck-again, again. Only the Mayans
surely slept-whose reterences to typhus and whose records spurred
the Doctor into something nigh those metaphysics that are typhoid
plus and had engaged him once before to death's beyond and back
again-antagonistic wills-into immunity. Tact, horsemanship,
courage were germicides to him. ... Poets may not be doctors, but
doctors are rare poets when roses leap like rats-and too, when rats
make rose nozzles of pink death around white teeth....
And during the wait over dinner at La Diana the Doctor had
said-who was American, also"You cannot heed the negative-so
might go on to undeserved doom... must therefore loose yourself
within a pattern's mastery that you can conceive, that you can yield
to-by which also you win and gain mastery and happiness which is
your own from birth.["]


Last updated February 11, 2023