This week: John Crowe RansomEdited by: Stormy Lady
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This is poetry from the minds and the hearts of poets on Writing.Com. The poems I am going to be exposing throughout this newsletter are ones that I have found to be, very visual, mood setting and uniquely done. Stormy Lady
Bells For John Whiteside's Daughter
by John Crowe Ransom
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.
On April 30, 1888 Minister John James Ransom and his wife Ella Crowe Ransom welcomed son John Crowe Ransom into their family. The Ransom’s lived in Pulaski, Tennessee. The couple had five children together with John being the middle child. John went to school in Nashville at Bowen Preparatory School, where he excelled in his classes. He started at Vanderbilt University at the age of 15. John became a Rhode Scholar at University College, Oxford in 1910. In 1914 John accepted an instructorship in English at Vanderbilt.
Ransom first volume of poetry “Poems about God” was published in 1919. During Ransom time teaching he began the method of teaching: close analysis of individual texts with emphasis on the uses of language. This method was used in the teaching of literature in American colleges and universities for close to thirty years. Ransom spent most of his career teaching at Vanderbilt and writing in his spare time. He was called into active duty during World War I and did a short term at the University of Grenoble. In 1922 Ransom and fellow group of writers began to publish the “Fugitive” a magazine that last 19 issues and published Ransom volumes of poetry “Grace after Meat” in 1924 and “Chills and Fever” in 1925. “Two Gentlemen in Bonds” was published in 1927 and contained Ransom best poems, “Dead Boy,” “Blue Girls,” Janet Waking,” and “Vision by Sweetwater.”
Ransom went on to write “In God without Thunder,” in 1930 followed by in "I’ll Take My Stand that same year. A lot of Ransom works focused on his religious ideas and his views on the Old South. He focused on farming, family, respect for the way things used to be, and an appreciation for the world and art. In 1936 Ransom wrote and published an article “Who Owns America,” followed by his poetic theory ”The World’s Body,” in 1938 and “The New Criticism ,” in 1941.
In 1937 Ransom accepted his final teaching position at Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio. While teaching there he founded the Kenyon Review. Ransom was editor for the Kenyon Review from 1939-1959, where he published great works from other southern writers such as Andrew Lytle, Randall Jarrell, Caroline Gordon, and Flannery O'Connor. John Crowe Ransom died July 2, 1974.
Conrad in Twilight
by John Crowe Ransom
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
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.
Thank you all!
The winner of "Stormy's poetry newsletter & contest" [ASR] is:
Grandma Witch was teaching Penny to cook.
Penny just didn't ever know what to do.
The easiest thing was a party drink
Called "Don't light a match here" brew
You first need a cast iron cauldron.
Please don't light the fire near the house.
Special ingredients you can buy at Phantom Pharmacy.
And you must stir it all with the tail of a mouse.
You put in a cup of potion of Warlock Bitters.
Then a pinch of 'ghastly gator goo'.
Don't forget the smidgen of ground up peppers.
And a big dash of Grandma's secret truffle cave dew.
You bury it in a hole outside for the weekend.
Next you put it blender for an hour.
Let the mixture sit in the kitchen til sundown,
Until the party starts inside Devil's Tower.
Grandma hoped the Penny was listening.
Penny wanted to impress the friends she knew.
But if the drink was not very tasty,
Then she would use it at the next family barbecue.
These are the rules:
1) You must use the words I give in a poem or prose with no limits on length.
2) The words can be in any order and anywhere throughout the poem and can be any form of the word.
3) All entries must be posted in your portfolio and you must post the link in this forum, "Stormy's poetry newsletter & contest" [ASR] by November 2, 2019.
4) The winner will get 3000 gift points and the poem will be displayed in this section of the newsletter the next time it is my turn to post (November 6, 2019)
The words are:
dirt bridge fields dew road flag country old dawn
Good luck to all
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