John Crowe Ransom
John Crowe Ransom (April 30, 1888 – July 3, 1974) was a southern American poet, essayist and academic. He was prominent among the Fugitives, the Southern Agrarians and the American exponents of the New Criticism.
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BLUE GIRLS, by John Crowe Ransom
Twirling your blue skirts crossing the sward
Under the towers of your seminary
Go listen to your teachers, old and contrary
Without believing a word.
Tie the white filets then about your hair
And think no more of what will come to pass
Than bluebirds that go flying in the air
Or chattering on the grass.
Practice your beauty, blue girls, ere it fail,
And I with my loud lips will publish
Beauty that all our powers cannot establish
It is so frail.
For I could tell you a story which is true;
I know a lady with a terrible tongue,
Blear eyes fallen from blue,
All her perfections tarnished--
Yet it is not long
Since she was lovelier than any of you.
- "Blue Girls", line 13, from Two Gentlemen in Bonds (1927).
- And weeping fast as she had breath
Janet implored us, "Wake her from her sleep!"
And would not be instructed in how deep
Was the forgetful kingdom of death.
- "Janet Waking", line 25, from Two Gentlemen in Bonds (1927).
Chills and Fevers (1924)
- And a wandering beauty is a blade out of its scabbard.
You know how dangerous, gentlemen of threescore?
May you know it yet ten more.
- "Judith of Bethulia", line 4.
- "Here lies a lady,"
by John Crowe Ransom
Here lies a lady of beauty and high degree.
Of chills and fever she died, of fever and chills,
The delight of her husband, her aunts, an infant of three,
And of medicos marveling sweetly on her ills.
For either she burned, and her confident eyes would blaze--
But what was she . . .tatters . . . The fifth of these spells was her last; the cold settled down.
Sweet ladies, long may ye bloom, and haply I hope may ye thole.
But was she not lucky? In flowers, and lace, and mourning
. . . . we bade God rest her soul,
After six little spells of chill and six of burning."
Two evils, monstrous either one apart,
Possessed me, and were long and loath at going:
A cry of Absence, Absence, in the heart,
And in the wood the furious winter blowing.
- "Winter Remembered", line 1.