by ADELAIDE CRAPSEY (1878-1914)
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 grey glimmer of the olive trees
Lies like a breath, a ghost, upon the dark,
There will I wander when the nightingale
Ceases, and even the veiled 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-sandal’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.
Born September 9, 1878, Adelaide Crapsey was a Vassar College alumna (1901). She began a career in education as a History and Literature teacher in Kenosha, WI., then went to Rome for a year to study archaeology. She returned to teaching at Smith College in Massachusetts, but tuberculosis cut her career short. In 1913, she began to write her “Cinquains,” five-line stanzas in this strict structure: two, four, six, eight and two syllables.