Adelaide Crapsey Poems Part 01

Adelaide Crapsey Poems Part 01, The exotically named Adelaide Crapsey was a New York-born poet and English literature teacher whose short life was tragically cut short by tuberculosis. Her poetry output was fairly substantial but she will best be remembered by students of 19th and 20th-century poets as the inventor of a writing technique called “the cinquain”. This was probably born out of her love of the Japanese “tanka and haiku” forms of writing. It’s a kind of compressed style of writing that had many admirers including another famous writer, Ezra Pound.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems Part 01
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Adelaide was born in Brooklyn, New York in September 1878. Her father was an Episcopal priest who was eventually dismissed from his post following a trial for heresy in 1906. Some historians have pointed to this event, and the death of her eldest brother a year later, as major contributors to Adelaide’s failing health. It is very likely that the stress caused by two such tragic events, coming so close together, will have severely affected her health.

Adelaide Crapsey died on the 8th October, 1914, aged just 36.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems Part 01

Adventure

Sun and wind and beat of sea,
Great lands stretching endlessly…
Where be bonds to bind the free?
All the world was made for me!
Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Amaze

I know

Not these my hands

And yet I think there was

A woman like me once had hands

Like these.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Angelique

Have you seen Angelique,

What way she went?

A white robe she wore;

A flickering light near spent

Her pale hand bore.

Have you seen Angelique?

Will she know the place

Dead feet must find,

The grave-cloth on her face

To make her blind?

Have you seen Angelique. .

At night I hear her moan,

And I shiver in my bed;

She wanders all alone,

She cannot find the dead.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Anguish

Keep thou
Thy tearless watch
All night but when blue-dawn
Breathes on the silver moon, then weep!
Then weep!

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Arbutus

Not spring’s

Thou art, but hers,

Most cool, most virginal,

Winter’s, with thy faint breath, thy snows

Rose-tinged.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

As I Went

As I went, as I went

Over the mountains,

I heard, I heard,

Through cloud-wreath and mist,

A hound that was baying —

Death . . it was death.

As I went, as I went

Over the meadows,

I heard, I heard,

From thicket, from shadow,

A hidden bird fluting —

Death . . it was death.

As I went, as I went

By rocks and by sand-dunes,

I heard, I heard,

At the dea’s bottom

A silver fish swimming —

Death . . it was death.

As I went, as I went

In my house, in my house,

I heard, I heard,

A footfall, a footfall

Closely behind me —

Death . . it was death.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Aubade

The morning is new and the skies are fresh washed with light,

The day cometh in with the sun and I awake laughing.

Hasten, belov`ed!

For see, while you were yet sleeping

The cool and virgin feet of dawn went soundless over grey meadows,

And the earth is requickened under her touch.

The vision that came with gradual steps departeth in an instant;

Hasten, let it be unbeheld of your eyes.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Autumn

Fugitive, wistful,

Pausing at edge of her going,

Autumn, the maiden, turns,

Leans to the earth with ineffable

Gesture. Ah, more than

Spring’s skies her skies shine

Tender and frailer

Bloom than plum-bloom or almond

Lies on her hillsides, her fields,

Misted, faint-flushing. Ah, lovelier

Is her refusal than

Yielding who pauses with grave

Backward smiling, with light

Unforgettable touch of

Fingers withdrawn. . . Pauses, lo

Vanishes. . fugitive, wistful. . .

x
“Ah me… Alas”

(He)

Ah me, my love’s heart,

Like some frail flower, apart,

High, on the cliff’s edge growing,

Touched by unhindered sun to sweeter showing,

Swung by each faint wind’s faintest blowing,

But so, on the cliff’s edge growing,

From man’s reach aloof, apart:

Ah me, my love’s heart!

(She)

Alack, alas, my lover,

As one who would discover

At world’s end his path,

Nor knows at all what fae[umlaut]ry way he hath

Who turneth dreaming into faith

And followeth that near path

His own heart dareth to discover:

Alack, alas, my lover!

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Avis

Avis, the fair, at dawn

Rose lightly from her bed,

Herself arrayed,

Avis, the fait, the maid,

In vestiment of lawn;

Across the fields she sped,

Five flowerets there she found,

In fragrant garland wound,

Avis, the fair, ar dawn,

Five roses red.

Go thou from thence of thy pity!

Thou lov’st not me.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Birth-Moment

Behold her,

Running through the waves

Eager to reach the land;

The water laps her,

Sun and wind are on her,

Healthy, brine-drenched and young,

Behold Desire new-born;-

Desire on first fulfillment’s radiant edge,

Love at miraculous moment of emergence,

This is she,

Who running,

Hastens, hastens to the land.

Look. . Look. .

Her blown gold hair and lucent eyes of youth,

Her body rose and ivory in the sun. .

Look,

How she hastens,

Running, running to the land.

Her hands are yearning and her feet are swift

To reach and hold

She knows not what

Yet knows that it is life;

Need urges her,

Self, uncomprehended but most deep divined,

Unwilled but all-comprelling, drives her on.

Life runs to life.

She who longs,

But hath not yet accepted or bestowed,

All virginal dear and bright,

Runs, runs to reach the land.

And she who runs shall be

married to blue of summer skies at noon,

companion to green fields,

held bride to subtle fragrance and of all sweet sound,

beloved of the stars,

and wanton priestess to the veering winds.

Oh breathless space between:

Womb-time just passed,

Dark-hidden, chaotic formative, unpersonal,

And individual life of fresh-created force

Not yet begun:

One moment more

Before desire shall meet desire

And new creation start.

Oh breathless space,

While she,

Just risen from the waves,

Runs, runs to reach the land.

(Ah, keenest personal moment

When mouth unkissed turns eager-slow and tremulous

Toward lover’s mouth,

That tremulous and eager-slow

Droops down to it:

But breathless space of breath or two

Lies in between

Before the mouth upturned and mouth down-drooped

Shall meet and make the kiss.)

Look. . Look. .

She runs. .

Love fresh-emerged,

Desire new-born. .

Blown on by wind,

And shone on by the sun,

She rises from the waves

And running,

Hasten, hastens to the land.

Belove’d and Belove’d and Belove’d,

Even so right

And beautiful and

Is my desire;

Even so longing-swift

I run to your receiving arms.

O Aphrodite!

O Aphrodite hear!

Hear my wrung cry flame upward poignant-glad…

This is my time for me.

I too am young;

I too am all of love!

1905

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Blue Hyacinths

In your
Curled petals what ghosts
Of blue headlands and seas,
What perfumed immortal breath sighing
Of Greece.
Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Chimes

(1)

The rose new-opening saith,
And the dew of the morning saith,
(Fallen leaves and vanished dew)
Remember death.
Ding dong bell
Ding dong bell

(2)

May-moon thin and young
In the sky,
Ere you wax and wane
I shall die;
So my faltering breath,
So my tired heart saith,
That foretell me death.
Ding-dong
Ding-dong
Ding-dong ding-dong bell

(3)

“Thy gold hair likes me well
And thy blue eyes,” he saith,
Who chooses where he will
And none may hinder — Death.
At head and feet for candles
Roses burning red,
The valley lilies tolling
For the early dead:
Ding-dong ding-dong
Ding-dong ding-dong
Ding-dong ding-dong bell
Ding-dong bell

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Cradle Song

Madonna, Madonnina

Sat by the grey road-side,

Saint Joseph her beside,

And Our Lord at her breast;

Oh they were fain to rest,

Mary and Joseph and Jesus,

All by the grey road-side.

She said, Madonna Mary,

“I am thirsty, Joseph, and weary,

All in the desert wide.”

Then bent down a tall palm-tree

Its branches low to her knee;

“Behold,” the palm-tree said,

“My fruit that is drink and bread.”

So were they satisfied,

Mary and Joseph and Jesus,

All by the grey road-side.

From Herod they were fled

Over the desert wide,

Mary and Joseph and Jesus,

In Egypt to abide:

Mary and Joseph and Jesus,

In Egypt to abide.

The blesse`d Queen of Heaven

Her own dear Son hath given

For my son’s sake; his sleep

Is safe and sweet and deep.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Dirge

Never the nightingale,

Oh, my dear,

Never again the lark

Thou wilt hear;

Though dusk and the morning still

Tap at thy window-sill,

Though ever love call and call

Thou wilt not hear at all,

My dear, my dear.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Doom

Peter stands by the gate,

And Michael by the throne.

“Peter, I would pass the gate

And come before the throne.”

“Whose spirit prayed never at the gate

In life nor at the throne,

In death he may not pass the gate

To come before the throne:”

Peter said from the gate;

Said Michael from the throne.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Endymion

“Let me be young,” the Latmian shepherd prayed,

“And let me have on night-time hills long sleep;”

Whom she of Cynthus saw, Heaven’s crowne`d maid,

And gave his youth and dreams her love to keep.

What news comrade upon the mountain top

From the courts of the sun? What news from the skies

When great Orion strides the open night,

Heaven’s Hunter” hath he told you of Heaven’s

Forests and the quarry of the Gods? They do

Not speare their pray I warrant you. Skillful

nd merciless. . Saw you young Cynthia threading her

Silver way among the stars and when she yearned o’er him,

The sleeping shepherd on the hills, caught you

Her breath of love? The winds have passed

You in the night, what have they told you of the

Illimitable? — Hath your soul followed thence and gone

beyond the [two undeciphered words] of their journey

envisaged the Ultimate —

Now doth blue kirtled night relume the stars

Bidding them light my dear love on his way,

And for his coming takes all tender cares

That he shall find the night more sweet than day.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Epigram

If illness’ end be health regained then I

Will pay you, Asculapeus, when I die.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Expenses

Little my lacking fortunes show

For this to eat and that to wear;

Yet laughing, Soul, and gaily go!

An obol pays the Stygian fare.

London, 1910

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Fate Defied

As it

Were tissue of silver

I’ll wear, O Fate, thy grey,

And go mistily radiant, clad

Like the moon.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

For Lucas Cranach’s Eve

Oh me,

Was there a time

When Paradise knew Eve

In this sweet guise, so placid and

So young?

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Fresher

Than spring’s new scents

The winter’s earliest wind

Blows from the hills the first faint breath

Of Snow.

Why have I

thought the dew

Ephemeral when I

Shall rest so short a time, myself,

On earth?

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Grain Field

Scarlet the poppies

Blue the corn-flowers,

Golden the wheat.

Gold for the Eternal:

Blue for Our Lady:

Red for the five

Wounds of her Son.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Harvester’s Song”

Reap, reap the grain and gather

The sweet grapes from the vine;

Our Lord’s mother is weeping,

She hath nor bread nor wine;

She is weeping. The Queen of Heaven,

She hath nor bread nor wine.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Hypnos, God of Sleep

The shadowy boy of night

Crosses the dusking land;

He sows his poppy-seeds

With steady, gentle hand.

The shadowy boy of night

Young husbandman of dreams,

Garners his gracious blooms

By far and moonlit streams.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Incantation.

O mia Luna! Porta mi fortuna!

(You must say it nine times, curtseying, and then wish.)

In rose-pale, fading blue of twilight sky,

See, the new moon’s thin crescent shining clear;

Nine times I’ll curtsey murmuring mystic words, —

And wish good fortune to our love, my dear.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

John Keats

Meet thou the event
And terrible happening of
Thine end: for thou are come
Upon the remote, cold place
Of ultimate dissolution and
With dumb, wide look
Thou, impotent, dost feel
Impotence creeping on
Thy potent soul. Yea, now, caught in
The aghast and voiceless pain
Of Death, thyself doth watch
Thyself becoming naught.Peace. . Peace. . for at
The last is comfort. Lo, now
Thou hast no pain. Lo, now
The waited presence is
Within the room; the voice
Speaks final-gentle: “Child,
Even thy careful nurse,
I lift thee in my arms
For greater ease and while
Thy heart still beats, place my
Cool fingers of oblivion on
Thine eyes and close them forEternity. Thou shalt
Pass sleeping, nor know
When sleeping ceases. Yet still
A little while thy breathing lasts,
Gradual is fainter: I
must listen close — the end.”

Rest. And you others..All.
Grave-fellows in
Green place. Here grows
Memorial every spring’s
Fresh grass and here
Your marking monument
Was built for you long, long
Ago when Caius Cestius died.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

John-a-dreams —

A laggard in the rear of time’s swift feet,

And one who loiters on an aimless way

Through lands he knows not; lured by birds to stray

In secret paths where silence holds the beat

And rust ascending wings. Roads meet;

He turns by hazard of some far-glimpsed spray

Of blossoming tree. Shall condemnation say,

Unprofitable! Empty thy days as fleet?

Nay, if perchance he wanders Paradise,

And in unhurried immortality,

Treads child-like wise and ignorant the thrice

Blessed, ultimate regions of the throne of God?

Then needs he not to fear who walks the sod

Of Heain angels’ radiant company.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Languor After Pain

Pain ebbs,

And like cool balm,

An opiate weariness

Settles on eye-lids, on relaxed

Pale wrists.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Laurel in the Berkshires

Sea-foam

And coral! Oh, I’ll

Climb the great pasture rocks

And dream me mermaid in the sun’s

Gold flood.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Lo, All the Way

Lo, All the Way,

Look you, I said, the clouds will break, the sky

Grow clear, the road

Be easier for my travelling the field,

So sodden and dead,

Will shimmer with new green and starry bloom,

And there will be,

There wil be then, with all serene and fair,

Some little while

For some light laughter in the sun; and lo,

The journey’s end,

Grey road, grey fields, wind and a bitter rain.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Lully. .Lulley. .

So may you sleep alway,

My baby, my dear son:

Amen, Amen, Amen.

My baby, my dear son.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Lunatick.

Dost thou

Not feel them slip,

How cold! how cold! the moon’s

Thin wavering finger-tips, along

Thy throat?

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Mad Song

Grey gaolers are my griefs

That will not let me free;

The bitterness of tears

Is warder unto me.

I may not leap or run;

I may not laugh nor sing.

“Thy cell is small,” they say,

“Be still thou captived thing.”

But in the dusk of the night,

Too sudden-swift to see,

Closing and ivory gates

Are refuge unto me.

My griefs, my tears must watch,

And cold the watch they keep;

They whisper, whisper there —

I hear them in my sleep.

They know that I must come,

And patient watch they keep,

Whispering, shivering there,

Till I come back from sleep.

But in the dark of a night,

Too dark for them to see,

The refuge of black gates

Will open unto me.

Whisper up there in the dark. .

Shiver by bleak winds stung. .

My dead lips laugh to hear

How long you wait . . . how long!

Grey gaolers are my griefs

That will not let me free;

The bitterness of tears

Is warder unto me.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Madness

Burdock,

Blue aconite,

And thistle and thorn. .of these

Singing I wreathe my pretty wreath

O’death.

Adelaide Crapsey Poems
Adelaide Crapsey Poems

Milking Time

Heard ye the maidens

Went through the meadows,

Early, O, early,

While yet the dew was

Wet on the grass?

Heard ye the milk-maids

Singing and singing?

“Cushy cow bonny let down your milk,

And I will give you a gown of silk,

A gown of silk asnd a silver tee,

If you will let down your milk to me.”

Hear ye the maidens,

Over the meadows,

Where the dew gathers,

Where shadows lengthen,

Hear ye the milk-maids’

Aery, hushed voices

Singing, ah, singing?

“Cushy cow bonny let down your milk,

And I will give you a gown of silk,

A gown of silk asnd a silver tee,

If you will let down your milk to me.”

Morning and evening,

In the green meadows

Hear ye the milk-maids

And their sweet singing?

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