John Crowe Ransom

Conrad in Twilight

Conrad, Conrad, aren't you old 
To sit so late in your mouldy garden? 
And I think Conrad knows it well, 
Nursing his knees, too rheumy and cold 
To warm the wraith of a Forest of Arden. 

Neuralgia in the back of his neck, 
His lungs filling with such miasma, 
His feet dipping in leafage and muck: 
Conrad! you've forgotten asthma. 

Conrad's house has thick red walls, 
The log on Conrad's hearth is blazing, 
Slippers and pipe and tea are served, 
Butter and toast are meant for pleasing! 
Still Conrad's back is not uncurved 
And here's an autumn on him, teasing.

Autumn days in our section 
Are the most used-up thing on earth 
(Or in the waters under the earth) 
Having no more color nor predilection 
Than cornstalks too wet for the fire, 
A ribbon rotting on the byre, 
A man's face as weathered as straw 
By the summer's flare and winter's flaw.