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When the Frost is On the Punkin
by
James Whitcomb Riley


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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 monring 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 sausage, 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!

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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James Whitcomb Riley (1849 - 1916) was an American poet best known for his children's poems and dialect-based verses. James was born in Greenfield, Indiana, and later moved to Indianapolis; homes in both cities are preserved and open to the public today. James was hugely popular during his lifetime. A bestselling author who traveled the country speaking to sell-out crowds, he never married or had children of his own, but he loved children and they loved him back. When he died, more than 35,000 people came to pay their respects as James lay in state under the Indiana capitol dome.  

 

 


Post New Comment:
cork:
Cork In 6th grade I had to stay after school until I could recite from memory "Blessings on Thee Little Man."
Posted 10/17/2014 01:44 PM
paradea:
Exactly. Fantastic!!
Posted 10/17/2014 08:58 AM
dotief@comcast.net:
This was just lovely! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm glad to know where the line "the frost is on the pumpkin..." came from. My father used to say it several times every autumn.
Posted 10/17/2014 08:36 AM
rhonasheridan:
Oh - I did enjoy this. I would love to hear it read in the dialect it should be read in! My English voice messed some of it up - alas. Such a lovely poem
Posted 10/17/2014 01:30 AM
lincolnhartford:
Thanks for including this one. Of course it is out of time, but I heard his affection for the plethora of October things, clear and strong. I had already shared it with some of my poet friends....maybe as a corrective to some of our sterile language.
Posted 10/16/2014 11:32 PM
KevinArnold:
There's so much going on in each line: 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
Posted 10/16/2014 11:15 PM


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