A poem to read in the bath… ‘Because I could not stop for Death’

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 –
And Immortality.

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 DickinsonEmily Dickinson

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

Leave a comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s