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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  2000

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Subject:

Adelaide Crapsey

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Date:

Wed, 20 Sep 2000 16:24:51 -0400 (EDT)

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Okay, Christopher (and see especially "Lo, All the Way," below, re
"life is a journey")--but caveat emptor and all that, too, as I can
see why Mark says she was most famous for her conquains (even if he
is all wet on Edwin Markham, the best Lincoln poet of his generation!). 

Crapsey wrote some surprisingly conventional verse along with her 
avant-gardianism (much dull rhyming in trad stanzaic forms and on 
equally trad--often classical--subjects). Below are her few non-
cinquains that seem to me to attain something of their consistent 
strangeness and power, plus displaying a similarly sophisticated
degree of technique, especially the strong punctuation deployed in 
the cinquains. One thing I noticed that Untermeyer did with her 
anthology trio of cinqs was to "normalize" as ellipses what are 
really functioning as suspension points (and are graphed as such
on the UMICH "American Verse" site) in Crapsey's long and lyrical,
trad and a-g forms, alike.

Okay, here's all but the quite lengthy (for her) "To the Dead
in the Graveyard Underneath My Window (Written in a Moment of
Exasperation)," which I'll post separately in awhile--Candice
  

>I too had not known of her work and would certainly welcome more.
>
>CW



Night

I have minded me
Of the noon-day brightness,
And the crickets' 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.



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 fields,
   So sodden and dead,
Will shimmer with new green and starry bloom,
   And there will be,
There will 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.



Autumn

Fugitive, wistful,
Pausing at the 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...



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