John Crowe Ransom

(30 April 1888 - 3 July 1974 / Pulaski Tennessee)

Dumb-Bells Poem by John Crowe Ransom


DUMB-BELLS left, dumb-bells right,
Swing them hard, grip them tight!
Thirty fat men of the town
Must sweat their filthy paunches down.
Dripping sweat and pumping blood
They try to make themselves like God.


One and two, three and four,
Cleave the air and smite the floor!
Five and six, seven and eight,
Legs apart, shoulders straight!
Thirty fat men grunt and puff,
Thirty bellies plead, Enough!


Dumb-bells up, dumb-bells down,
Dumb-bells front, dumb-bells ground!
Thirty's God has just the girth
To pull the levers of the earth,
They made him sinewy and lean
And washed him glittering white and clean.


Dumb-bells in, dumb-bells out,
Count by fours and face about!
Put by dumb-bells for to-day,
Wash the stinking sweat away
And go out clean. But come again;
Worship's every night at ten.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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