Learn More

John Crowe Ransom

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

The School


I WAS not drowsy though the scholars droned.
Hearing the music that they made of Greek,
Whenever Helen's unforgotten face
Sent other young men whisking off to war;
Hearing much mention of the hecatombs,
And Pericles, and fishes that were purple,
Temples in white, and trees that they named olive;
And thinking always of proud Athens shining
Upon her hill, that slanted to her sea:


Equipped with Grecian thoughts, how could I live
Among my father's folk? My father's house
Was narrow and his fields were nauseous.
I kicked his clods for being common dirt,
Worthy a world which never could be Greek;
Cursed the paternity that planted me
One green leaf in a wilderness of autumn;
And wept, as fitting such a fruitful spirit
Sealed in a yellow tomb.


The Lord preserves his saints for Christian uses.
He sent a pair of providential eyes.
They would have sat in any witless head,
Although I deemed them deep as classic seas,
As strange as any woman written smiling,
And much more near; the merest modern eyes,
The first my Athens faced; and yet her lamp,
It flickered rather low.


Then he commanded me to scrutiny
As to a fingered thing of no great matter,
A circumstantial sorry little coin.
A friendly thing, I owned, to lie so warm
Against the side of any friendless man;
And in the hand--O if the happy hand
Accommodate the cunning rounded scepter,
Then is dominion seated in that palm,
And coveting is seated in men's eyes.
Make haste, my hands, about your own inclosures!
And what were dead Greek empires to me then?
Dishonored, by Apollo, and forgot.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The School by John Crowe Ransom )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Dove, Nathan Beery
  2. Tempestuous Solace, Nathan Beery
  3. Quiet Emptiness, Ron Baratono
  4. The Tree, Deborah Eker
  5. Rose Red, Nathan Beery
  6. Old, Nathan Beery
  7. On being a Woman, Deborah Eker
  8. Fight, Savvas Dimitsakis
  9. Untitled, Clove Beatty
  10. Being hugged, Cee Bea

Poem of the Day

poet Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. If, Rudyard Kipling
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  9. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]