Piazza Piece

By John Crowe Ransom 1888–1974
—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,
They want the young men’s whispering and sighing.   
But see the roses on your trellis 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   
Until my truelove comes, and then we kiss.   
But what grey man among the vines is 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.

John Crowe Ransom, “Piazza Piece” 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 Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Men & Women, Unrequited Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 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 Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Men & Women, Unrequited Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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