John Crowe Ransom

(30 April 1888 - 3 July 1974 / Pulaski Tennessee)

Friendship - Poem by John Crowe Ransom

I VIEWED him well, the visible fat fool,
And yet I took him in; for I contended,
Friends are not sent in order of our choosing,
They come unsuited like the gifts of God.
I would not do a perfidy to friendship,
I let him past the private inner gate
And made him be at home among my treasures
Like my true friend.

Now I am ground with a grim torture daily
That I have been befriended by a fool.
He forages at will upon my garden,
He noses all its pretty secrets out,
And still the fool finds nothing to his liking.
Meeting a modest velveteen affair,
Peevish he hangs his sad and silly head:
'Alas! such unsubstantial gaudy goods!'
Thus he meets pansies; meeting zinnias,
He nearly faints at such a rioting:
'Alas! what fruit will these red wantons bear?'

And not a perfume spills upon the air
But his malicious nose suspects a poison,
As he goes browsing like an ancient ass,
An old distempered ass.

I'd almost rather be a friendless man
And have my house my own. The prying fool
Asks me the queerest idiotic questions:
'O friend, is this the harvest of your hands?
How will you stand before the lord of harvests?
These are the gardens of your idleness;
Where is the vineyard, friend?'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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