Adelaide Crapsey

Mad Song

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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.

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Adelaide Crapsey