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John Crowe Ransom
1888-1974





Piazza Piece
Winter Remembered

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.
The want the young men's whipering and sighing.
But see the roses on your trelling 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
Untill my truelove comes, and then we kiss.
But what grey man among the vines in 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.


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.


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© 2001 Elena and Yakov Feldman