Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

The live oak's darkening filagree
of undulating boughs, the etched
solidity of a cypress indivisible
from the now aged English hackberry,
become with lost identity,
part of the ground, as sunset flames increasingly
against the leaf-chiselled
blackening ridge of green; while clouds, expanding above
the town's assertiveness, dwarf it, dwarf arrogance
that can misunderstand
importance; and
are to the child an intimation of what glory is.


John Crowe Ransom (Am. b. 1888)

Bells for Yohn Whiteside's 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.

-306-

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