Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the Frost is on the Punkin

Since we're all in a punkin mood this time of year, I decided to post one of my favorite childhood poems. (And also because two people commented on the 'shocks' in last Friday's blog post.) The last pic is of some corn shocks made by the Amish in our neighborhood.

The art work posted here accompanies the poem in Volume 2 of the 1949 edition of Childcraft, published by Field Enterprises, Chicago.

If you read this to your kids or grandkids, be sure to encourage them to chime in on the last line of each stanza. :-) They'll love it!

When the Frost is on the Punkin

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and 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 time 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 something 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 blossoms 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 the 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' sermuns 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 cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such 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.

By James Whitcomb Riley. (1853-1916)

P.S. My husband and I were discussing 'fodder' the other night and we both grew up thinking of fodder as the stalk that's left over after the grain has been harvested. So, there might be oat fodder or corn fodder. Do you know of any others?


Unknown said...

Very Nice! My dad loves to quote our very own Mr. J W Riley. He used to scare the stuffings out of my niece and nephews with "and the gobblins will get you if you don't watch out!" It's going to get frosty down here and rain a bit, or so they say. The girls are home for Fall Break, and I think we are off to the Indianapolis Zoo tomorrow. Sounds like a fun photo op!

Unknown said...

I've never heard this one before...I love it!

Michelle said...

Lovely! I love poetry but have never heard this poem before.

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, I haven't heard that poem in AGES! It's perfect ... :)

Unknown said...

I often forget that not everyone sees those (and Amish buggies, etc.) on a regular basis. I grew up in Amish country. Actually some of my parents closest friends are Amish. That is were Big-- our former Welsh Corgi puppy-- went to live and he is loving life on the farm herding the sheep until his little heart is content!

J_on_tour said...

No surprise to know that I've never heard of it either. Always good to hear that this kind of thing is preserved in regional accents.

Denise said...

Really awesome post.

partialemptynester said...

Fun, fun poem, totally puts me in the spirit of the season...we are looking forward to a cold front in a couple of nights...they're promising a drop to 44 degrees...woohoo, put on the hot cider!


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