Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
III. The Seasons
“Knee-deep in June”
James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)
TELL you what I like the best—
    ’Long about knee-deep in June,
    ’Bout the time strawberries melts
    On the vines—some afternoon
Like to jes’ git out and rest,        5
    And not work at nothin’ else!
Orchard’s where I’ ruther be—
Needn’t fence it in for me!
  Jes’ the whole sky overhead
    And the whole airth underneath—        10
    Sorto’ so ’s a man kin breath
  Like he ort, and kindo’ has
Elbow-room to keerlessly
  Sprawl out len’thways on the grass,
    Where the shadows thick and soft        15
As the kivvers on the bed
  Mother fixes in the loft
Allus, when they’s company!
Jes’ a sort o’ lazein’ there—
  S’ lazy, ’at you peek and peer        20
    Through the wavin’ leaves above,
    Like a feller ’ats in love
  And don’t know it, ner don’t keer!
  Ever’thing you hear and see
    Got some sort o’ interest—        25
    Maybe find a bluebird’s nest
  Tucked up there conveenently
  Fer the boys ’ats apt to be
  Up some other apple-tree!
Watch the swallers skootin’ past        30
’Bout as peert as you could ast;
    Er the Bobwhite raise and whiz
    Where some other’s whistle is.
Ketch a shadder down below,
And look up to find the crow;        35
Er a hawk away up there,
’Pearantly froze in the air!—
  Hear the old hen squawk, and squat
  Over every chick she ’s got,
Sudden-like!—And she knows where        40
That-air hawk is, well as you!—
You jes’ bet yer life she do!—
  Eyes a-glittering like glass,
  Waitin’ till he makes a pass!
Pee-wees’ singin’, to express
  My opinion’s second class,
Yit you ’ll hear ’em more er less;
  Sapsucks gittin’ down to biz,
Weedin’ out the lonesomeness;
  Mr. Bluejay, full o’ sass,        50
    In them base-ball clothes o’ his,
Sportin’ ’round the orchard jes’
Like he owned the premises!
  Sun out in the fields kin sizz,
But flat on your back, I guess,        55
  In the shade’s where glory is!
    That ’s jes’ what I ’d like to do
    Stiddy for a year or two!
Plague! if they ain’t sompin’ in
Work ’at kindo’ goes agin        60
My convictions!—’long about
  Here in June especially!—
  Under some old apple tree,
    Jes’ a-restin’ through and through,
I could git along without        65
    Nothin’ else at all to do
    Only jes’ a-wishin’ you
Was a-gittin’ there like me,
And June was eternity!
    Lay out there and try to see
    Jes’ how lazy you kin be!—
  Tumble round and souse yer head
In the clover-bloom, er pull
      Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes,
      And peek through it at the skies,        75
    Thinkin’ of old chums ’ats dead,
        Maybe, smilin’ back at you
In betwixt the beautiful
        Clouds o’ gold and white and blue!—
    Month a man kin railly love—        80
    June, you know, I ’m talkin’ of!
    March ain’t never nothin’ new!—
    Aprile ’s altogether too
      Brash fer me! and May—I jes’
      ’Bominate its promises,—        85
        Little hints o’ sunshine and
    Green around the timber-land—
    A few blossoms, and a few
    Chip-birds, and a sprout er two—
    Drap asleep, and it turns in        90
    ’Fore daylight and snows agin!—
    But when June comes—Clear my throat
  With wild honey! Rench my hair
    In the dew! and hold my coat!
      Whoop out loud! and throw my hat!—        95
      June wants me, and I ’m to spare!
      Spread them shadders anywhere,
      I ’ll git down and waller there,
        And obleeged to you at that!

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