Monday, October 12, 2009

Get in there you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!

I had to share this poem, recommended to me by one of my fellow elders, one who could empathize firsthand with the author.

James Whitcomb Riley

We had our posey garden
That the women loved so well.
I loved it too but better still
I loved the stronger smell
That filled the evening breezes
So full of homely cheer
And told the night-o’ertaken tramp
That human life was near.
On lazy August afternoons:
It made a little bower
Delightful, where my grandsire sat
And whiled away an hour.
For there the summer morning
Its very cares entwined.
And berry bushes reddened
In the teeming soil behind.
All day fat spiders spun their webs
To catch the buzzing flies.
That flitted to and from the house
Where Ma was baking pies.
And once a swarm of hornets bold
Had built a palace there.
And stung my unsuspecting aunt –
I must not tell you where.
Then father took a flaming pole
That was a happy day –
He nearly burned the building up
But the hornets left to stay.
When summer bloom began to fade
And winter to carouse,
We banked the little building
With a heap of hemlock boughs.
But when the crust was on the snow
And the sullen skies were gray,
In sooth the building was no place
Where one could wish to stay.
We did our duties promptly;
There one purpose swayed the mind.
We tarried not nor lingered long
On what we left behind.
The torture of that icy seat
Would made a Spartan sob,
For needs must scrape the goose flesh
With a lacerating cob.
That from a frost-encrusted nail
Was suspended by a string –
My father was a frugal man
And wasted not a thing.
When grandpa had to “go out back”
And make his morning call,
We’d bundled up the dear old man
With a muffler and a shawl.
I knew the hole on which he sat
‘Twas padded all around,
And once I dared to sit there;
‘Twas all too wide, I found.
My loins were all too little
And I jack-knifed there to stay;
They had to come and get me out
Or I’d have passed away.
Then father said ambition
Was a thing small boys should shun,
And I must use the children’s hole
Till childhood days were done.
But still I marvel at the craft
That cut those holes so true;
The baby hole and the slender hole
That fitted Sister Sue.
That dear old country landmark!
I’ve tramped around a not
And in the lap of luxury
My lot has been to sit,
But ere I die I‘ll eat the fruit
Of trees I robbed of yore,
Then seek the shanty where my name
Is carved upon the door.
I ween the old familiar smell
Will soothe my jaded soul;
I’m now a man, but none the less
I’ll try the children’s hole.

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