Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter

(1990)

"Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter" is the third song in Lee Hoiby's song cycle Southern Voices. The poem is by John Crowe (J. C.) Ransom.

Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter
by John Crowe Ransom


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.


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