Original poem reprinted online here: "A Man Said to the Universe" by Stephen Crane
Originally read: April 30, 2013
More information about the Poet: Stephen Crane
A very short proverb, no so much a poem though. I can see this quoted at the beginning of a paper or something and be a single line and still have the same impact.
In any case though, the line breaks create a separation of what's said and response. The statement that man says is stated alone for importance, "Sir, I exist!" Construction wise, the politeness of sir combined with the exclamation mark brings a forced importance.
The line break for the universe's response, "The fact has not created in me / A sense of obligation." brings multiple meanings. The line break versus the single line shows a certain level of depth where the line "The fact has not created in me" can be taken as a stand alone line as more of a call out out to personification and the construction of a concept.
And (not really or) the full line is weighted with the word "obligation" in which past me interpreted as, "existence -- even though equal in importance, does not mean one is entitled to the other than acknowledgment."
So why do I write this as more of a proverb than a poem then -- the impact, which is strong, becomes more the focal point rather than the techniques that bring up the impact. "Are you defining poetry as techniques that create an impact, and the techniques either can be focused on or at least serve equal weight of a work." Well, if you put me in a corner, most likely.