Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership



Best Famous John Crowe Ransom Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Crowe Ransom poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Crowe Ransom poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Crowe Ransom poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Crowe Ransom poems.

Search for the best famous John Crowe Ransom poems, articles about John Crowe Ransom poems, poetry blogs, or anything else John Crowe Ransom poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

by John Crowe Ransom | |

Blue Girls

 Twirling your blue skirts, travelling the sward 
Under the towers of your seminary, 
Go listen to your teachers old and contrary 
Without believing a word.
Tie the white fillets then about your hair And think no more of what will come to pass Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass And chattering on the air.
Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail; And I will cry with my loud lips and publish Beauty which all our power shall never establish, It is so frail.
For I could tell you a story which is true; I know a woman 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.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Bells For John Whitesides Daughter

 There was such speed in her little body, 
And such lightness in her footfall, 
It is no wonder her brown study Astonishes us all 

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond Where she took arms against her shadow, Or harried unto the pond The lazy geese, like a snow cloud Dripping their snow on the green grass, Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud, Who cried in goose, Alas, For the tireless heart within the little Lady with rod that made them rise From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle Goose-fashion under the skies! But now go the bells, and we are ready, In one house we are sternly stopped To say we are vexed at her brown study, Lying so primly propped.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Piazza Piece

 -- I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying
To make you hear.
Your ears are soft and small And listen to an old man not at all, They want the young men's whispering and sighing.
But see the roses on your trellis dying And hear the spectral singing of the moon; For I must have my lovely lady soon, I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying.
-- I am a lady young in beauty waiting Until my truelove comes, and then we kiss.
But what grey man among the vines is this Whose words are dry and faint as in a dream? Back from my trellis, Sir, before I scream ! I am a lady young in beauty waiting.


More great poems below...

by John Crowe Ransom | |

Conrad in Twilight

 Conrad, Conrad, aren't you old 
To sit so late in your mouldy garden? 
And I think Conrad knows it well, 
Nursing his knees, too rheumy and cold 
To warm the wraith of a Forest of Arden.
Neuralgia in the back of his neck, His lungs filling with such miasma, His feet dipping in leafage and muck: Conrad! you've forgotten asthma.
Conrad's house has thick red walls, The log on Conrad's hearth is blazing, Slippers and pipe and tea are served, Butter and toast are meant for pleasing! Still Conrad's back is not uncurved And here's an autumn on him, teasing.
Autumn days in our section Are the most used-up thing on earth (Or in the waters under the earth) Having no more color nor predilection Than cornstalks too wet for the fire, A ribbon rotting on the byre, A man's face as weathered as straw By the summer's flare and winter's flaw.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Dead Boy

 The little cousin is dead, by foul subtraction,
A green bough from Virginia's aged tree,
And none of the county kin like the transaction,
Nor some of the world of outer dark, like me.
A boy not beautiful, nor good, nor clever, A black cloud full of storms too hot for keeping, A sword beneath his mother's heart—yet never Woman bewept her babe as this is weeping.
A pig with a pasty face, so I had said, Squealing for cookies, kinned by poor pretense With a noble house.
But the little man quite dead, I see the forbears' antique lineaments.
The elder men have strode by the box of death To the wide flag porch, and muttering low send round The bruit of the day.
O friendly waste of breath! Their hearts are hurt with a deep dynastic wound.
He was pale and little, the foolish neighbors say; The first-fruits, saith the Preacher, the Lord hath taken; But this was the old tree's late branch wrenched away, Grieving the sapless limbs, the short and shaken.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Necrological

 The friar had said his paternosters duly 
And scourged his limbs, and afterwards would have slept; 
But with much riddling his head became unruly, 
He arose, from the quiet monastery he crept.
Dawn lightened the place where the battle had been won.
The people were dead -- it is easy he thought to die -- These dead remained, but the living were all gone, Gone with the wailing trumps of victory.
The dead men wore no raiment against the air, Bartholomew's men had spoiled them where they fell; In defeat the heroes' bodies were whitely bare, The field was white like meads of asphodel.
Not all were white; some gory and fabulous Whom the sword had pierced and then the grey wolf eaten; But the brother reasoned that heroes' flesh was thus.
Flesh fails, and the postured bones lie weather-beaten.
The lords of chivalry lay prone and shattered.
The gentle and the bodyguard of yeomen; Bartholomew's stroke went home -- but little it mattered, Bartholomew went to be stricken of other foemen.
Beneath the blue ogive of the firmament Was a dead warrior, clutching whose mighty knees Was a leman, who with her flame had warmed his tent, For him enduring all men's pleasantries.
Close by the sable stream that purged the plain Lay the white stallion and his rider thrown, The great beast had spilled there his little brain, And the little groin of the knight was spilled by a stone.
The youth possessed him then of a crooked blade Deep in the belly of a lugubrious wight; He fingered it well, and it was cunningly made; But strange apparatus was if for a Carmelite.
Then he sat upon a hill and bowed his head As under a riddle, and in deep surmise So still that he likened himself unto those dead Whom the kites of Heaven solicited with sweet cries.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Painted Head

 By dark severance the apparition head 
Smiles from the air a capital on no 
Column or a Platonic perhaps head 
On a canvas sky depending from nothing; 

Stirs up an old illusion of grandeur 
By tickling the instinct of heads to be 
Absolute and to try decapitation 
And to play truant from the body bush; 

But too happy and beautiful for those sorts 
Of head (homekeeping heads are happiest) 
Discovers maybe thirty unwidowed years 
Of not dishonoring the faithful stem; 

Is nameless and has authored for the evil 
Historian headhunters neither book 
Nor state and is therefore distinct from tart 
Heads with crowns and guilty gallery heads; 

Wherefore the extravagant device of art 
Unhousing by abstraction this once head 
Was capital irony by a loving hand 
That knew the no treason of a head like this; 

Makes repentance in an unlovely head 
For having vinegarly traduced the flesh 
Till, the hurt flesh recusing, the hard egg 
Is shrunken to its own deathlike surface; 

And an image thus.
The body bears the head (So hardly one they terribly are two) Feeds and obeys and unto please what end? Not to the glory of tyrant head but to The estate of body.
Beauty is of body.
The flesh contouring shallowly on a head Is a rock-garden needing body's love And best bodiness to colorify The big blue birds sitting and sea-shell cats And caves, and on the iron acropolis To spread the hyacinthine hair and rear The olive garden for the nightingales.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Prelude to an Evening

 Do not enforce the tired wolf
Dragging his infected wound homeward
To sit tonight with the warm children
Naming the pretty kings of France.
The images of the invaded mind Being as the monsters in the dreams Of your most brief enchanted headful, Suppose a miracle of confusion: That dreamed and undreamt become each other And mix the night and day of your mind; And it does not matter your twice crying From mouth unbeautied against the pillow To avert the gun of the same old soldier; For cry, cock-crow, or the iron bell Can crack the sleep-sense of outrage, Annihilate phantoms who were nothing.
But now, by our perverse supposal, There is a drift of fog on your mornings; You in your peignoir, dainty at your orange cup, Feel poising round the sunny room Invisible evil, deprived and bold.
All day the clock will metronome Your gallant fear; the needles clicking, The heels detonating the stair's cavern Freshening the water in the blue bowls For the buck berries, with not all your love, You shall he listening for the low wind, The warning sibilance of pines.
You like a waning moon, and I accusing Our too banded Eumenides, While you pronounce Noes wanderingly And smooth the heads of the hungry children.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Winter Remembered

 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.
Think not, when fire was bright upon my bricks, And past the tight boards hardly a wind could enter, I glowed like them, the simple burning sticks, Far from my cause, my proper heat and center.
Better to walk forth in the frozen air And wash my wound in the snows; that would be healing; Because my heart would throb less painful there, Being caked with cold, and past the smart of feeling.
And where I walked, the murderous winter blast Would have this body bowed, these eyeballs streaming, And though I think this heart's blood froze not fast It ran too small to spare one drop for dreaming.
Dear love, these fingers that had known your touch, And tied our separate forces first together, Were ten poor idiot fingers not worth much, Ten frozen parsnips hanging in the weather.