Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Poetry - Adelaide Crapsey

Adelaide Crapsey was unpublished & unknown in her lifetime. She grew up in Rochester, New York, studied at Vassar College & taught poetry there. She wrote a book on English metrical poetry that was published after her death. She died of tuberculosis in 1914, aged only 36.
This poem, The Lonely Death, is beautifully controlled, very spare & quiet, but that final image is powerful.

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.


  1. Beautiful and grim - a very visual poem too. I'm not sure I want to visualize it though... How sad.

    1. Very grim! It reminded me of Sylvia Plath, such a vivid image of death.

  2. Phew. Very powerful indeed.

    Thank you

    1. It is, isn't it? Yet another forgotten poet. I'd like to read more of her work.