Miriam Tazewell

By John Crowe Ransom 1888–1974
When Miriam Tazewell heard the tempest bursting   
And his wrathy whips across the sky drawn crackling   
She stuffed her ears for fright like a young thing   
And with heart full of the flowers took to weeping.

But the earth shook dry his old back in good season,
He had weathered storms that drenched him deep as this one,   
And the sun, Miriam, ascended to his dominion,
The storm was withered against his empyrean.

After the storm she went forth with skirts kilted   
To see in the hot sun her lawn deflowered,   
Her tulip, iris, peony strung and pelted,
Pots of geranium spilled and the stalks naked.

The spring transpired in that year with no flowers   
But the regular stars went busily on their courses,   
Suppers and cards were calendared, and some bridals,   
And the birds demurely sang in the bitten poplars.

To Miriam Tazewell the whole world was villain,   
The principle of the beast was low and masculine,   
And not to unstop her own storm and be maudlin,   
For weeks she went untidy, she went sullen.

John Crowe Ransom, “Miriam Tazewell” from Selected Poems, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Copyright 1924, 1927, 1934, 1939, 1945, © 1962, 1963 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1969)

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Poet John Crowe Ransom 1888–1974

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Subjects Nature, Spring, Weather, Gardening, Activities

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 John Crowe Ransom

Biography

John Crowe Ransom was one of the leading poets of his generation. A highly respected teacher and critic, Ransom was intimately connected to the early twentieth-century literary movement known as the Fugitives,  later the Southern Agrarians. Around the year 1915, a group of fifteen or so Vanderbilt University teachers and students began meeting informally to discuss trends in American life and literature. Led by John Crowe . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Spring, Weather, Gardening, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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