John Crowe Ransom

30 April 1888 - 3 July 1974 / Pulaski Tennessee

The Cloak Model

'My son,' the stranger thus began,
And drew me to the window side,
'Now here are beauties better than
You ever have dreamed, or ever can.
But yet beware!' he cried.
A tidy citizen was he
Although a dismal daffy one.
'See this one pose and pout for me
And march around magnificently.
But I'm immune, my son.
'Observe how ripe the lady's lips,
How Titianesque the mop of hair,
And where the great white shoulder dips
Beneath its gauzy half-eclipse,
You well may stare and stare.
'When I was young I said as you
Are saying in your sapphic youth,
That ah! such lips were certain cue,
And look! her bosom's rhythm too,
It signified her truth;
'Her broad brow meant intelligence
And something better than a bone,
Her body's curves were spirit's tents,
Her fresh young skin was innocence
Instead of meat that shone.
'I wish the moralists would thresh
(Indeed the thing is very droll)
God's oldest joke, forever fresh:
The fact that in the finest flesh
There isn't any soul.'
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