Friday, 15 February 2008

Adelaide Crapsey and the great leap forward

When it comes to that wonderful art that is modern American poetry Walt Whitman and his 'Song of Myself', whatever Allen Ginsberg may say tongue in cheek, inspired the great leap forward. With lines like The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom...- the path led away from Dickinson and Longfellow to swerve via Eliot, Stevens, and Bukowski to end up in Sylvia Plath's gas oven. More or less where we, or rather they, are today.
Let us remember lesser lights passed along the way; women like Adelaide Crapsey. They played their part too. The following is from her.

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 aflame
In the grey dawn; and myself
Will lay myself straight in my bed,
And draw the sheet under my chin.

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