A Child Prodigy: Nathalia Crane

Nathalia Crane was born on 11 August 1913, in Brooklyn, New York. She was a poet and novelist who became famous as a child prodigy after the publication of her first book of poetry “The Janitor’s Boy and Other Poems” when she was only 10 years old. The collection was based on romance and influenced by Emily Dickinson
The previous year she had already published some poems in The New York Sun: the newspaper was unaware that they had been written by a child

Time magazine referred to her as “The Baby Browning of Brooklyn”.
After publishing some further work she became a professor of English at San Diego State University. and a political activist.

She died in 1998, in San Diego, California.

“The Janitor’s Boy” is about the girlish dream of escaping to a desert island with the red-haired boy living in her block of flats.

Oh I’m in love with the janitor’s boy,
And the janitor’s boy loves me;
He’s going to hunt for a desert isle
In our geography.
A desert isle with spicy trees
Somewhere near Sheepshead Bay;
A right nice place, just fit for two
Where we can live alway.
Oh I’m in love with the janitor’s boy,
He’s busy as he can be;
And down in the cellar he’s making a raft
Out of an old settee.
He’ll carry me off, I know that he will,
For his hair is exceedingly red;
And the only thing that occurs to me
Is to dutifully shiver in bed.
The day that we sail, I shall leave this brief note,
For my parents I hate to annoy:
“I have flown away to an isle in the bay
With the janitor’s red-haired boy.”

Natalie Merchant, from her album “Leave Your Sleep

Il figlio del custode

Oh sono innamorata del figlio del custode,
e il ragazzo del custode mi ama;
va in cerca di un’isola deserta
nella nostra geografia.
Un’isola deserta con alberi profumati

da qualche parte nella baia di Sheepshead;
un posticino perfetto per due
dove potremo vivere per sempre.
Oh sono innamorata del figlio del custode,
è indaffarato come non mai;
giù in cantina sta costruendo una zattera
da un vecchio divano.
Mi porterà via, so che lo farà,
poiché i suoi capelli sono straordinariamente rossi;
e l’unica cosa che mi capita
è di rabbrividire rispettosamente a letto.

Il giorno in cui salperemo, lascerò questa breve nota,
perché non voglio infastidire i miei genitori:
“Sono volata via su di un’isola nella baia
con il figlio del custode dai capelli ross
i.”

(trad: L.Z.)

50 thoughts on “A Child Prodigy: Nathalia Crane

    1. I must say that I did not know her myself, but I like to publish posts that often have some connections with the day of publication., so I discovered that it was the birth of that poet, I wanted to know more and I read that delightful poem. When I later found out that Natalie Merchant had set it to music, I couldn’t help but talk about it

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Confesso che non la conoscevo neppure io. Ma, se non ho altro da pubblicare, mi piace fare articoli su qualcosa che abbia attinenza con la data, il giorno-
      Allora ho scoperto che era la data di nascita di quella poetessa: ho voluto saperne di più e ho trovato quella poesia deliziosa. Quando poi ho scoperto che Natalie Merchant l’aveva musicata non ho potuto fare a meno di parlarne

      Liked by 2 people

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