Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Frosty Morn


WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN
by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and the gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O it's then the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock

They's somethin kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here -
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock -
When the frost is on the punkin and fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries - kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below - the clover overhead! -
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it - but if sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me -
I'd want to 'commodate 'em - all the whole-indurin' flock -
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

I don’t have any punkins—er, pumpkins—and nobody shocks fodder anymore, unless it’s to sell to city folk who think that a pile of fodder on the porch is a suitable autumn decoration. But last night we had our first hard frost and freeze. This morning the lawn was silvered and the water tubs were skimmed with ice. A haze hung over parts of the woods. The deck railing was painted white with frost:


Last Friday, I counted sixteen turkeys down the road, a couple of them gobblers. None “kyoucked and the gobbled,” though, but a few strutted.

Yesterday, I picked the last of my roses and made a final bouquet. I moved most of the house plants inside and wrapped up the rest. I’ll get those in today.



I’m battening down for winter.

More about James Whitcomb Riley at the Lilly Library of Indiana University: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/riley/exhibit.htm

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1 Comments:

Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I cannot believe it was 90 degrees less than a month ago! I closed my pool this past weekend and closed up my unsold pop-up camper.

Bring on the snowflakes!

4:09 PM  

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