Part I

Birth-Moment The Mother Exultant John Keats

Cinquains 1911-1913

November Night Release Triad Snow Anguish Trapped Moon Shadows Susanna and the Elders Youth Languor After Pain The Guarded Wound

Winter Night Winds Arbutus Roma Aeterna He's killed the may and he's laid her by to bear the red rose company Amaze Shadow Fate Defied Madness The Warning The Saying of Il Haboul Guardian Of The Treasure Of Solomon And Keeper Of the Prophet's Armour The Death of Holofernes Laurel in the Berkshires Niagara Seen on a night in November The Grand Canyon Now Barabbas Was a Robber Refuge in Darkness

Part II

To Walter Savage Landor The Pledge Hypnos, God of Sleep Expenses Adventure On Seeing Weather Beaten Trees Warning to the Mighty Oh Lady, Let the Sad Tears Fall Dirge The Sun-Dial The Entombment Autumn "Ah me... Alas" Perfume of Youth Rapunzel Narcissus Vendor's Song Avis Doom Grain Field Song Pierrot The Monk in the Garden The Mourner Night Harvester's Song Rose-Mary of the Angels Angelique Chimes Mad Song The Witch The Cry of the Nymph to Eros Cradle Song To Man Who Goes Seeking Immortality The Lonely Death Lo, All the Way The Crucifixion The Immortal Residue Inscription for my verse


TO THE DEAD IN THE GRAVE-YARD UNDER MY WINDOW To an Unfaithful Lover To A Hermit Thrush The Source For Lucas Cranach's Eve Blue Hyacinths Fresher Why have Lunatick. Thou art not friendly sleep that hath delayed Nor moon Old Love My Birds That Fly No Longer The Elgin Marbles Safe Sad of Heart The Event The Companions Epigram You Nor I Nor Nobody Knows The Proud Poet The Plaint Endymion What news comrade upon the mountain top Tears John-a-dreams -- Incantation Milking Time The Fiddler Aubade The Parting As I Went




This collection was arranged by Adelaide Crapsey before she died. She seems to have selected the poems for their collective and developmental statement on the course of her life and dying, and the poems have a cumulative effect. The poems of the first section chronologically precede those of the other two sections, but they seem to be arranged in this order to show a development from youthful anticipation of life to an attempt to reconcile with death.


Part I


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. .


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!



The Mother Exultant

Joy! Joy! Joy!

The hills are glad,

The valleys re-echo with merriment,

In my heart is the sound of laughter,

And my feet dance to the time of it;

Oh, little son, carried light on my shoulder,

Let us go laughing and dancing through the live days,

For this is the hour of the vintage,

When man gathereth for himself the fruits of the vineyard.

Look, little son, look:

The grapes are translucent and ripe,

They are heavy and fragrant with juice

They wait for the hands of the vintagers;

For a long time the grapes were not,

And were in the womb of the earth,

Then out of the heavens came the rain,

The sun sent down his warmth from the sky,

At the touch of life, life stirred,

And the earth brought forth her fruits in due season.

I was a maid and alone,

When, behold, there came to me a vision;

My heart cried out within me,

And the voice was the voice of God.

Yea, a virgin I dreamed of love,

And was troubled and sore afraid,

I wept and was glad,

For the word of my heart named me blesse'd,

My soul exhalted the might of creation.

I was a maid and alone,

When, behold, my lover came to me,

My belove'd held me in his arms.

Joy! Joy! Joy!

Now is the vision fulfilled;

I have conceived,

I have carried in my womb,

I have brought forth

The life of the world;

Out of my joy and my pain,

Out of the fulness of my living

Hath my son gained his life.

Look, little son, look:

The grapes are ripe for gathering;

The fresh, deep earth is in them,

And clean water from the clouds.

And golden, golden sun is in the heart of the grapes.

Look, little son, look:

The earth, your mother,

And the touch of life who is your father,

They have provided food for you

That you also may live.

The vineyards are planted on the hillside,

They are the vineyards of my belove'd,

He chose a favorable spot,

His hands prepared the soil for the planting;

He set out the young vines

And cared for them till the time of their bearing.

Nopw is his labour fulfilled who worked with God.

The fruit of the vineyard is ripe,

The vintagers laugh in the sun,

They sing while they gather the grapes,

For the vintage is a good one,

The wine vats are pressed down and running over.

Joy! Joy! Joy!

Now is the wonder accomplished;

Out of the heat of the living grape

Hath the hand of my belove'd

Wrung the wine of the dream of life.


My little son's father,

Together we have given life,

And the vision of life;

Shall we not rejoice

Who have made eternal

The days of our living.

Look, little son, look:

The grapes glow with rich juice;

The juice of the grape hath in it

The substance of the earth,

And the air's breath;

It hath in it the soul of the vintage.

Put forth your hand, little son,

And take for yourself the life

That your father and your mother

Have provided for you.

Joy! Joy! Joy!

The halls are glad,

The valleys re-echo with merriment,

In my heart is the sound of laughter,

And my feet dance to the time of it;

Oh, little son, carried light on my shoulder,

Let us go laughing and dancing through the live days,

For this is the hour of vintage,

When man gathereth for himself the fruits of the vineyard.



John Keats

(February 1820-February 1821)

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 for

Eternity. 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.

Rome 1909.




November Night

Listen. .

With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees

And fall.



With swift

Great sweep of her

Magnificent arm my pain

Clanged back the doors that shut my soul

From life.



These be

Three silent things:

The falling snow. .the hour

Before the dawn. .the mouth of one

Just dead.



Look up. . .

From bleakening hills

Blows down the light, first breath

Of wintry wind. . .look up, and scent

The snow!



Keep thou

Thy tearless watch

All night but when blue dawn

Breathes on the silver moon, then weep!

Then weep!



Well and

If day on day

Follows, and weary year

On year...and ever days and years...



Moon Shadows

Still as

On windless nights

The moon-cast shadows are,

So still will be my heart when I

Am dead.


Susanna and the Elders

"Why do

You thus devise

Evil against her?" "For that

She is beautiful, delicate:




But me

They cannot touch,

Old age and death. .the strange

And ignominious end of old

Dead folk!


Languor After Pain

Pain ebbs,

And like cool balm,

An opiate weariness

Settles on eye-lids, on relaxed

Pale wrists.


The Guarded Wound

If it

Were lighter touch

Than petal of flower resting

On grass oh still too heavy it were,

Too heavy!



The cold

With steely clutch

Grips all the land. .alack

The little people in the hills

Will die!


Night Winds

The old

Old winds that blew

When chaos was, what do

They tell the clattered trees that I

Should weep?



Not spring's

Thou art, but hers,

Most cool, most virginal,

Winter's, with thy faint breath, thy snows



Roma Aeterna

The sun

is warm today,

O Romulus, and on

Thine older Palentine the birds

Still sing.


"He's killed the may and he's laid her by

To bear the red rose company"

Not thou,

White rose, but thy

Ensanguined sister is

The dear companion of my heart's

Shed blood.



I know

Not these my hands

And yet I think there was

A woman like me once had hands

Like these.




On red rose,

A golden butterfly. .

And on my heart a butterfly



Fate Defied

As it

Were tissue of silver

I'll wear, O Fate, thy grey,

And go mistily radiant, clad

Like the moon.




Blue aconite,

And thistle and thorn. .of these

Singing I wreathe my pretty wreath



The Warning

Just now,

Out of the strange

Still dusk. .as strange, as still. .

A white moth flew. Why am I grown

So cold?


The Saying of Il Haboul

Guardian Of The Treasure Of Solomon

And Keeper Of the Prophet's Armour

My tent

A vapour that

The wind dispels and but

As dust before the wind am I



The Death of Holofernes


Wake! Be gay!

Thine enemy is brought low --

Thy foe slain -- by the hand, by the hand

Of a woman!


Laurel in the Berkshires


And coral! Oh, I'll

Climb the great pasture rocks

And dream me mermaid in the sun's

Gold flood.



Seen on a night in November

How frail

Above the bulk

Of crashing water hangs,

Autumn, evanescent, wan,

The moon.


The Grand Canyon

By Zeus!

Shout word of this

To the eldest dead! Titans,

Gods, Heroes, come who have once more

A home!


Now Barabbas Was a Robber

No guile?

Nay, but so strangely

He moves among us. . Not this

Man but Barabbas! Release to us



Refuge in Darkness

With night's

Dim veil and blue

I will cover my eyes,

I will bind close my eyes that are

So weary.


Part II

To Walter Savage Landor

Ah, Walter, where you lived I rue

These days come all too late for me;

What matter if her eyes were blue

Whose rival is Persephone?

Fiesole, 1909


The Pledge

White doves of Cytherea, by your quest

Across the blue Heaven's bluest highest air,

And by your certain homing to Love's breast,

Still to be true and ever true -- I swear.


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.



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



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!


On Seeing Weather Beaten Trees

Is it as plainly in our living shown,

By slant and twist, which way the wind has blown?


Warning to the Mighty

Ere the horne'd owl hoot

Once and twice and thrice there shall

Go among the blind brown worms

News of thy great burial;

When the pomp is passed away,

"'Here's a King,' the worms shall say."


Oh Lady, Let the Sad Tears Fall

Oh Lady, let the sad tears fall

To speak thy pain,

Gently as through the silver dusk

The silver rain.

Oh, let thy bosom breathe its grief

In such soft sigh

As hath the wind in gardens where

Pale roses die.



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.


The Sun-Dial

Every day,

Every day,

Tell the hours

By their shadows,

By their shadows.


The Entombment

In a cave born

(Mary said)

In a cave is

My Son buried



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. . .


"Ah me... Alas"


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!


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!


Perfume of Youth

(Girl's Song)

In Babylon, in Nineveh,

And long ago, and far away,

The lilies and the lotus blew

That are my sweet of youth to-day.

From those high gardens of the Gods

That eyes of men may never see,

The amaranth and asphodel

Immortal odours shed on me.

In vial of my early years,

As in a crystal vial held,

What precious fragrance treasured up

Of age and agelessness distill'd.

XThine but to give. Give straightway all.Y

Yea, straight, mine hands, the ointment rare

In great libation joyous pour!

Oh, look of youth. . . Oh, golden hair. . .



All day, all day I brush

My golden strands of hair;

All day I wait and wait..

Ah, who is there?

Who calls? Who calls? The gold

Ladder of my long hair

I loose and wait..and wait..

Ah, who is there?

She left at dawn..I am blind

In the tangle of my long hair..

Is it she? the witch? the witch?

Ah, who is there?



"Boy, lying

Where the long grass

Edges the pool's brim,

What do you watch

There in the water? The blue

Colour of Heaven

Mirrored, repeated? the brown

Tree-trunks and branches

Waveringly imaged? These,

Boy, do you watch?"

"Nay but mine eyes;

Nay but the trouble

Deep in mine eyes."


Vendor's Song

My songs to sell, sweet maid!

I pray you buy.

Here's one will win a lady's tears,

Here's one will make her gay,

Here's one will charm your true love true

Forever and a day;

Good sir, I pray you buy!

XOh, no, she will not buy.Y

My songs to sell, sweet maid!

I pray you buy.

This one will teach you Lilith's lore,

And this what Helen knew,

And this will keep your gold hair gold,

And this your blue eyes blue;

Sweet maid, I pray you buy!

Oh, no, she will not buy.

If I'd as much money as I could tell,

I never would cry my songs to sell.

I never would cry my songs to sell.



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.



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.


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.



I make my shroud but no one knows,

So shimmering fine it is and fair,

With stitches set in even rows.

I make my shroud but no one knows.

In door-way where the lilac blows,

Humming a little wandering air,

I make my shroud and no one knows,

So shimmering fine it is and fair.



For Aubrey Beardsley's picture

"Pierrot is dying"

Pierrot is dying:

Tiptoe in,

Finger touched to lip,


Columbine and Clown.

Hugh! how still he lies

In his bed,

White slipped hand and white

Sunker head.

Oh, poor Pierrot.

There's his dressing gown

Across the chair,

Slippers in the floor. . .

Can he hear

Us who tiptoe in?

Pillowed high he lies

In his bed;

Listen Columbine.

"He is dead."

Oh, poor Pierrot.


The Monk in the Garden

He comes from Mass early in the morning

The sky's the very blue Madonna wears;

The air's alive with gold! Mark you the way

The birds sing and the dusted shimmer of dew

On leaf and fruit?..Per Bacco, what a day!


The Mourner

I have no heart for noon-tide and the sun,

But I will take me where more tender night

Shakes, fold on fold, her dewy darkness down.

And shelters me that I may weep in peace,

And feel no pitying eyes, and hear no voice

Attempt my grief in comfort's alien tongue.

Where cypresses, more black than night is black,

Border straight paths, or where, on hillside slopes,

The dim grglimmer of the olive trees

Lies like a breath, a ghost, upon the dark,

There will I wander when the nightingale

Ceases, and even the veil`ed stars withdraw

Their tremulous light, there find myself at rest,

A silence and a shadow in the gloom.

But all the dead of all the world shall know

The pacing of my sable-sandall'd feet,

And know my tear-drenched veil along the grass,

And think them less forsaken in their graves,

Saying: There's one remembers, one still mourns;

For the forgotten dead are dead indeed.



I have minded me

Of the noon-day brightness,

And the cricket's drowsy

Singing in the sunshine. .

I have minded me

Of the slim marsh-grasses

That the winds at twilight,

Dying, scarcely ripple. .

And I cannot sleep.

I have minded me

Of a lily-pond,

Where the waters sway

All the moonlit leaves

And the curled long stems. .

And I cannot sleep.


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.


Rose-Mary of the Angels

Little Sister Rose-Marie,

Will thy feet as willing-light

Run through Paradise, I wonder,

As they run the blue skies under,

Willing feet, so airy-light?

Little Sister Rose-Marie

Will thy voice as bird-note clear

Lift and ripple over Heaven

As its mortal sound is given,

Swift bird-voice, so young and clear?

How God will be glad of thee,

Little Sister Rose-Marie!"



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.




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


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 bell


"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


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.


The Witch

When I was girl by Nilus stream

I watched the deserts stars arise;

My lover, he who dreamed the Sphinx,

Learned all his dreaming from eyes.

I bore in Greece a burning name,

And I have been in Italy

Madonna to a painter-lad,

And mistress to a Medici.

And have you heard (and I have heard)

Of puzzled men with decorous mien,

Who judged -- the wench knew far too much --

And burnt her on the Salem green?


The Cry of the Nymph to Eros

Hear thou my lamentation,

Eros, Aphrodite's son!

My heart is broken and my days are done.

Where the woods are dark and the stream runs clear in the dark,


I prayed to thy mother and planted the seeds of her flowers,

And smiled at the planting and wept at the planting. Oh violets,

Ye are dead and your whiteness, your sweetness, availed not. Thy


Is cruel. Her flowers lie dead at the steps of the altar,

Eros! Eros!

With a shining like silver they cut through the blue of the sky


The dove's wings, they white doves I brought to thy mother in worship;

And I said, she will laugh for joy of my doves. Oh, stillness

Of dead wings. She laughed not nor looked. My doves are dead,

Are dead at the steps of her altars. They mother is cruel,

Eros, Eros!

Hear thou my lamentation,

Eros, Aphrodite's son!

My heart is broken and my days are done.


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.

Lully. .Lulley. .

So may you sleep alway,

My baby, my dear son:

Amen, Amen, Amen.

My baby, my dear son.


To Man Who Goes Seeking Immortality

Bidding Him Look Nearer Home.

Too far afield thy search. Nay, turn. Nay, turn.

At thine own elbow potent Memory stands,

Thy double, and eternity is cupped

In the pale hollow of those ghostly hands.

The Lonely Death

In the cold I will rise, I will bathe

In waters of ice; myself

Will shiver, and shrive myself,

Alone in the dawn, and anoint

Forehead and feet and hands'

I will shutter the windows from light,

I will place in their sockets the four

Tall candles and set them a-flame

In the grey of the dawn; and myself

Will lay myself straight in my bed

And draw the sheet under my chin.


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.


The Crucifixion

And the centurion who stood by said:

Truly this was a son of God.

Not long ago but everywhere I go

There is a hill and a black windy sky.

Portent of hill, sky, day's eclipse I know;

Hill, sky, the shuddering darkness, these am I.

The dying at His right hand, at His left,

I am -- the thief redeemed and the lost thief;

I am the careless folk; I those bereft,

The Well-Belov'd, the women bowed in grief.

The gathering Presence that in terror cried,

In earth's shock in the Temple's veil rent through,

I; and a watcher, ignorant, curious-eyed,

I the centurion who heard and knew."

The Immortal Residue

Inscription for my verse

Wouldst thou find my ashes? Look

In the pages of my book;

And as these thy hand doth turn,

Know here is my funeral urn.



Crapsey seemed to be uncertain about the following , despite the unquestionable value of many of them. Most of the following poems were first published in the edition made by Susan Sutton Smith in (Albany: SUNY, 1978) and have not been produced elsewhere.



How can you lie so still? All day I watch

And never a blade of all the green sod moves

To show where restlessly you toss and turn,

And fling a desperate arm or draw up knees

Stiffened and aching from their long disuse;

I watch all night and not one ghost comes forth

To take its freedom of the midnight hour.

Oh, have you no rebellion in your bones?

The very worms must scorn you where you lie,

A pallid mouldering acquiescent folk,

Meek inhabitants of unresented graves.

Why are you there in your straight row on row

Where I must ever see you from my bed

That in your mere dumb presence iterate

The text so weary in my ears: "Lie still

And rest; be patient and lie still and rest."

I'll not be patient! I will not lie still!

There is a brown road runs between the pines,

And further on the purple woodlands lie,

And still beyond blue mountains lift and loom;

And I would walk the road and I would be

Deep in the wooded shade and I would reach

The windy mountain tops that touch the clouds.

My eyes follow but my feet are held.

Recumbent as you others must I too

Submit? Be mimic of your movelessness

With pillow and counterpane for stone and sod?

And if the many sayings of the wise

Teach of submission I will not submit

But with a spirit all unreconciled

Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.

Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,

Better it is to laugh and leap and sing,

To know the open skies of dawn and night,

To move untrammel'd down the flaming noon,

And I will clamour it through weary days

Keeping the edge of deprivation sharp,

Nor with the pliant speaking on my lips

Of resignation, sister to defeat.

I'll not be patient. I will not lie still.

And in ironic quietude who is

The despot of our days and lord of dust

Needs but, scarce heeding, wait to drop

Grim casual comment on rebellion's end;

Yes;yes. . . Wilful and petulant but now

As dead and quiet as the others are."

And this each body and ghost of you hath heard

That in your graves do therefore lie so still.

Saranac Lake, --

November -- 1913


To an Unfaithful Lover

What words

Are left thee then

Who hast squandered on thy

Forgetfulness eternity's

I Love?


To A Hermit Thrush

Art thou

Not kin to him

Who loved Mark's wife and both

Died for it? O, thou harper in

Green woods?


The Source

Thou hast

Drawn laughter from

A well of secret tears

And thence so elvish it rings, --mocking

And sweet.


For Lucas Cranach's Eve

Oh me,

Was there a time

When Paradise knew Eve

In this sweet guise, so placid and

So young?


Blue Hyacinths.

In your

Curled petals what ghosts

Of blue headlands and seas,

What perfumed immortal breath sighing

Of Greece.



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?



Dost thou

Not feel them slip,

How cold! how cold! the moon's

Thin wavering finger-tips, along

Thy throat?


Thou art not friendly sleep that hath delayed

The long night through and still at dawn doth keep

Estranged from eyes that very weariness

Makes blind to dawn.


Nor moon,

Nor stars . . the dark . . and in

The dark the grey

Ghost glimmer of the olive trees

The black straight rows

Of Cypresses.


Old Love

More dim than wining moon

Thy face, mort faint

Than is the falling wind

Thy voice, yet do

Thine eyes most strangely glow,

Thou host . . thou ghost.


My Birds That Fly No Longer

Have yet forgot, sweet birds,

How near the heaven's lie?

Drooping, sick-pinion'd, oh

Have yet forgot the sky?

The air that once I knew

Whispered celestial things;

I weep who hear no more

Upward and rushing wings.


The Elgin Marbles

The clustered Gods, the marching lads,

The mighty-limbed, deep-bosomed Three,

The shimmering grey-gold London fog . . .

I wish that Phidias could see!



Force and bluster? Mighty threatenings?

Scorn I lightly, -- Not for these.

Tell me when shall great Orion

Catch the flying Pleuades?


Sad of Heart.

Thou beautiful and ivory gates

That shut my tears away from me --

Even, at last, such refuge yield

That great, safe doors of Ebony.


The Event.

Lo, how they weave -- the imperturbable three --

Those threads that are my destiny:

Steadily at the eternal task they're bent

Industrious . . . indifferent . . .

Weave, Fates! And what your spinstry weaves I'll forthwith wear

And if it clothe me for the day or death's no air.


The Companions

Three grey women walk with me

Fate and Grief and Memory.

My fate brought grief; my grief must be

With me through Eternity,

Such thy power, memory.

Three grey women walk with me.



If illness' end be health regained then I

Will pay you, Asculapeus, when I die.


You Nor I Nor Nobody Knows

You nor I nor nobody knows

Where our daily-taken breath

Vanisheth and vanisheth:

Where our lost breath's flying goes

You nor I nor nobody knows.


The Proud Poet

Great Kings were dust and all their deeds forgot

Did my harp's taut and burnished strings stand mute;

The fragrance of dead ladies' lovely names

Blew never down but for my lute.


The Plaint

Musicians O Musicians: Heartsease

Heartsease: an you will have me live play heartsease.

Light wind in the small green leaves

Play, oh play, my sad heart ease;

Birds, shake from your wilding throats

Tune`d charm of happy notes;

Shepherd, shepherd, pipe a shrill

A jocound pipe o'er vale and hill;

For from too much weeping I,

Maid forlorn, am like to die.



"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.



The immemorial grief of all years

Burdes my heart sorely, and the years

Of slow eternal crying stain my cheeks.

Forever and forever my soul speaks

Saying: I am thy self: Look on me --

And weep. Never and never shalt thou be

As I. Weep; for weeping and hard pain

Of loss measure joy of last visioned gain.


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.



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.


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?


The Fiddler

"There's be no roof to shelter you;

You'll have no where to lay your head.

And who will get your food for you?

Star-dust pays for no man's bread.

So, Jacky, come give me your fiddle

If ever you mean to thrive."

"I'll have the skies to shelter me,

The green grass it shall be my bed.

And happen I'll find some where for me

A sup of drink, a bite of bread;

And I'll not give my fiddle

To any man alive."

And it's out he went across the wold,

His fiddle tucked beneath his chin,

And (golden bow on silver strings)

Smiling he fiddled the twilight in;

And fiddled in the frost moon,

And all the stars of the Milky Way,

And fiddled low through the dark o' dawn,

And laughed and fiddled in the day.

But oh, he had nor bite nor sup,

And oh, the winds blew stark and cold,

And when he cropped on his grass-green bed

It's long he slept on the open wold.

They digged his grave and "There," they said,

"He's got more land that ever he had,

And well it will keep him held and housed,

The feckless bit of a fiddling lad."

And it's out he's stepped across the wold

His fiddle tucked beneath his chin --

A wavering shape in the wavering light,

Smiling he fiddles the twilight in,

And fiddle in the frosty morn,

And all the stars of the Milky Way,

And fiddles low through the dark o' dawn,

And laughs and fiddles in the day.

He needeth not or bit or sup,

The winds of night he need not fear,

And (bow of gold on silver strings)

It's all the people turn to hear.

"Oh, never," it's all the people cry,

"Came such sweet sounds from mortal hand;"

And "Listen," they say, "It's some ghostly boy

That goes a-fiddling through the land.

Heark you! It's night comes slipping in, --

The moon and the stars that tread the sky;

And there's the breath o' the world that stops;

And now with a shout the sun comes by!"

Who heareth him he heedeth not

But smiles content, the fiddling lad;

"It's many and many a happy day,"

He says, "My fiddle and I have had;

And I'll not give my fiddle

To any man alive."



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.


The Parting.

Was it love breathed on us as on the skies

Dawn breathes for a short space and then is fled;

Or loved we never at all who but misread

With too dim vision the guarded mysteries?

Were we unfaithful or were we unwise,

Knew we not love, or if our love is dead,

If such were true, for grace of what is sped,

Could we not part with unaverted eyes?

But whence there looks askance as at strange fears?

Anmd when the far and muffled cryings that beat

Across the moment of our dire farewell?

Is here of sentience the dread burial?

Is it a still quick love that hear, oh hears,

The last earth fall, the sound of vanishing feet?


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.


home - karen alkalay-gut