Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
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 the 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 for me!—
  Jes’ the whole sky overhead,
    And the whole airth underneath—        10
    Sorto’ so’s a man kin breathe
    Like he ort, and kindo’ has
Elbow-room to keerlessly
    Sprawl out len’thways on the grass,
  Where the shadder’s thick and soft        15
  As the kivvers on the bed
  Mother fixes in the loft
Allus, when they’s company!
Jes’ a sorto’ lazin’ 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
For the boys ’at’s apt to be
Up some other apple-tree!
Watch the swallers scootin’ 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 your life she do!—
Eyes a-glitterin’ like glass,
Waitin’ till he makes a pass!
Pee-wee’s singin’, to express        45
  My opinions second-class,
Yit you’ll hear ’em more or less;
    Sapsuck’s 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 ain’t never nothing 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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