It should be noted that the Draconian copyright laws in the United States do nothing but empower the interests of people who have nothing to do with creative product, and limit access to art. I understand the need to protect copyright for a meaningful amount of time, even if it means decades, or the whole span of an author’s life. But the fact that virtually every written work published since 1923 is still under someone’s control (though in many cases the author in question has been dead for decades) just drives me over the edge. Of course, this problem is in the spotlight for me right now because finding poetry up to this point has been marvelously easy. And from now on it will be ridiculously difficult.
But I will not be turned aside. So, today’s poem is from the work of John Crowe Ransom, an American writer who has been described as a “major minor poet”. I leave it to you to decide what that means. In 1924, he published a collection called Chills and Fever: from it, I offer you “Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”:
There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.
Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond
The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,
For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!
But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown study,
Lying so primly propped.