John Crowe Ransom
April Treason - Poem by John Crowe Ransom
So he took her as anointed
In the part he had appointed,
She was lips for smiling faintly,
Eyes to look and level quaintly,
Length of limb and splendors of the bust
Which he honored as he must.
Queen of women playing model,
Pure of brow but brain not idle,
Sitting in her silence meetly,
Let her adjective be stately;
So he thought his art would manage right
In the honest Northern light.
But he fashioned it too coldly,
April broke-and-entered boldly,
Thinking how to suit the season’s
Odor, savor, heats and treasons:
Painter! do not stoop and play the host
Lest the man come uppermost.
Yet he knew that he was altered
When the perfect woman faltered,
Languish in her softly speaking,
Anguish, even, in her looking:
All the art had fled his fingertips
So he bent and kissed her lips.
He and Venus took their pleasure,
Then he turned upon his treasure,
Took and trampled it with loathing,
Flung it over cliffs to nothing;
Glittering in the sunlight while it fell
Like a lovely shattered shell.
Strict the silence that came onward
As they trod the foothill downward,
One more mocking noon of April,
Mischief always is in April;
Still she touched his fingers cold as ice
And recited, “It was nice.”
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