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John Crowe Ransom 1888 (Pulaski) – 1974 (Gambier)

I know you are not cruel,
And you would not willingly hurt anything in the world.
There is kindness in your eyes,
There could not very well be more of it in eyes
Already brimful of the sky.
I thought you would some day begin to love me,
But now I doubt it badly;
It is no man-rival I am afraid of,
It is God.

The meadows are very wide and green,
And the big field of wheat is solid gold,
Or a little darker than gold.
Two people never sat like us by a fence of cedar rails
On a still evening
And looked at such fat fields.
To me it is beautiful enough,
I am stirred,

I say grand and wonderful, and grow adjectival,
But to you
It is God.

Cropping the clover are several spotted cows.
They too are kind and gentle,
And they stop and look round at me now and then
As if they would say:
'How good of you to come to see us!
Please pardon us if we seem indifferent,
But we have not much time to talk with you now,
And really nothing to say.'
Then they make their bow,
Still kind and calm,
And go their way again
Towards the sunset.
I suppose they are going to God.

Your eyes are not regarding me,
Nor the four-leaf clovers I picked for you,
(With a prayer and a gentle squeeze for each of them),
Nor are they fretting over dress, and shoes,
And image in the little glass,
Like the eyes of other girls.

You are looking away over yonder
To where the crooked rail-fence gets to the top
Of the yellow hill
And drops out of sight
Into space.
Is that infinity that catches it?
And do you catch it too in your thoughts?
I know that look;
I have not seen it on another girl;
And it terrifies me,
For I cannot tell what it means,
But I think
It has something to do with God.

We are a mile from home,
And soon it will be getting dark,
And the big farm-bell will be ringing out for supper.
We had better start for the house.
O here he is, waiting.
He has chased the rabbits and run after the birds
A thousand miles or so,
And now he is hungry and tired.
But he is a southern gentleman

And will not whimper once
Though you kept him waiting forever.
He knows his mistress' eyes as well as I,
And when to be silent and respectful.
I will try to be as patient as Rover,
And we will be comrades and wait,
Till this lady we love
And her strange eyes
Come home from God.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:18 min read

John Crowe Ransom

John Crowe Ransom was an educator, scholar, literary critic, poet, essayist and editor. more…

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