This lyrical poem by Emily Dickinson sees the poet meet Death who, as a gentleman caller, takes a leisurely carriage drive with her. It was first published posthumously under the title ‘The Chariot’ in Poems: Series 1 in 1890, the edition assembled and edited by her friends Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Here are the first two verses.
‘Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility.’
The poem has since been set to music by Aaron Copland as the twelfth song of his cycle The Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson.
‘The Picador Book of Funeral Poems’ ed. by Don Paterson [UK: Picador]
Read these other excerpts, and perhaps find a new poet to love:-
‘Happiness’ by Stephen Dunn
‘Lost Acres’ by Robert Graves
‘The Roses’ by Katherine Tempest
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Because I could not stop for Death’ by Emily Dickinson https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3dG via @SandraDanby