Winter 1964 • Vol. XXVI No. 1 Five Poems for John Crowe RansomJanuary 1, 1964 |

The Neo-Classical Urn

I rub my head and find a turtle shell, stuck on a pole, each hair electrical with charges, and the juice alive with ferment. Bubbles drive the motor, always purposeful … poor head! How its skinny shell once hummed, as I sprinted down the colonnade of bleaching fir trees, those cylindrical clipped trunks without a twig between them. Rest! I could not rest. At full run on the curve, I left the plaster statue of a nymph, her soaring armpits and her one bare breast, gray from the rain and graying in the shade, as on, on, in sun, the pathway now a dike, I swerved between two water bogs, two seins of moss, and stooped to snatch the painted turtles on dead logs. In that season of joy my turtle catch was thirty-three, dropped splashing in our garden urn, like money in the bank, the plop and crash of turtle on turtle, fed raw gobs of hash. Oh neo-classical white urn, oh dancing nymphs, oh flute! the boy was pityless who strummed their elegy, for as the month w

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Considered by many to be the most important poet in English of the second half of the twentieth century, Robert Lowell studied at Kenyon College under John Crowe Ransom and received an undergraduate degree in 1940. He published over fifteen books of poetry in his lifetime and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 at the age of thirty.

Read More

Those Before Us

By Robert Lowell

I rub my head and find a turtle shell, stuck on a pole, each hair electrical with charges, and the juice alive with ferment. Bubbles drive the motor, always purposeful […]

The Lesson

By Robert Lowell

I rub my head and find a turtle shell, stuck on a pole, each hair electrical with charges, and the juice alive with ferment. Bubbles drive the motor, always purposeful […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.