Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
Knee-Deep in June
By 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 vine,—some afternoon
Like to jes’ git out and rest,        5
    And not work at nothin’ else!
Orchard’s where I’d ruther be—
Needn’t fence it in fer me!
  Jes’ the whole sky overhead
    And the whole airth underneath—        10
    Sorto’ so’s a man kin breathe
  Like he ort, and kind o’ has
Elbow-room to keerlessly
  Sprawl out len’thways on the grass
    Where the shadders 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 ’at’s 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 ’at’s 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,
Suddent-like!—And she knows where        40
  That-air hawk is, well as you!
  You jes’ bet yer life she do!
    Eyes a-glitterin’ like glass,
    Waitin’ till he makes a pass!
Pee-wees’ singin’, to express        45
  My opinion, ’s second class,
Yit you’ll hear ’em more or 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 yer back, I guess,        55
  In the shade’s where glory is!
    That’s jes’ what I’d like to do
    Stiddy fer a year er two!
Plague! ef they ain’t sompin’ in
Work ’at kind o’ goes ag’in        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        70
Jes’ how lazy you kin be!—
  Tumble round and souse your 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 ’at’s 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 aint never nothin’ new!
April’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 ag’in!
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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