When the Frost Is on the Punkin

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This material is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.

When the Frost Is on the Punkin

A haybale painted like a jack-o-lantern, for no discernable reason other than that Pennsylvania farmers have a weird sense of humour.
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 furries1 – kindo’ lonesome-like, but still

A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;

The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper2 in the shed;

The hosses3 in theyr stalls below – the clover over-head!

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!

James Whitcomb Riley

Editor's Note: James Whicomb Riley (1849-1916) was known as the 'Hoosier Poet'. 'Hoosiers' are people from Indiana, for some reason known only to themselves. Presumably, some of these were capable of understanding this shambolic dialect. The Editor believes that 'poets' like Riley were a blot on the literary landscape. Nonetheless, Riley is responsible for the fact that every autumn in the United States, people start saying, 'Oh, the frost is on the pumpkin.' Most of them have never even heard of James Whitcomb Riley, which is a blessing.

The Literary Corner Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

30.10.17 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1We have no information on these 'furries', but we're pretty sure they aren't the ones who made Mika Brzezinski laugh so uncontrollably. 2Not the Grim Reaper: this is farm machinery.3Horses. We think James Whitcomb Riley was channeling the Isle of Wight.

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