Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916
 
10. "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 
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—  30
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. 
 
 
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