Friday, October 28, 2011

When the Frost is on the Punkin

This giant pumpkin is 1810.5 pounds and was grown in Stillwater, Minnesota I've never seen one this big but in the part of Indiana where I grew up, we had an annual Pumpkin Show [a month ago this year and I wasn't there]. I think of jack-o-lanterns second, really third, after thinking of that annual Pumpkin Show [which was the only event in our area that offered carnival rides]. I couldn't have cared less about the pumpkins.

Second, I think of James Whitcomb Riley [1851-1916] a Hoosier poet who wrote in dialect and wrote a poem that was probably taught much more enthusiastically in Indiana than elsewhere in the US. This is 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, 5
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— 10
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— 15
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; 20
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 25
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

[Sorry I cut off the last line but I think you've had quite enough by now]


Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I remember I had to recite that first stanza in elementary school class. Thanks for the memory.

June Calender said...

Really? Even in New Jersey? Some things really stay with us, don't they?