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Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Knee-Deep in June

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,
       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 --
Sort o' 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
As the kivvers on the bed
      Mother fixes in the loft
Allus, when they's company!

Jes' a-sort o' lazin there -
   S'lazy, 'at you peek and peer
      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 -
      Maybe find a bluebird's nest
   Tucked up there conveenently
   Fer the boy 'at's ap' to be
   Up some other apple tree!
Watch the swallers skootin' past
Bout as peert as you could ast;
   Er the Bob-white raise and whiz
   Where some other's whistle is.

Ketch a shadder down below,
And look up to find the crow --
Er a hawk, - away up there,
'Pearantly froze in the air! --
   Hear the old hen squawk, and squat
   Over ever' chick she's got,
Suddent-like! - and she knows where
   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 wingin', 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,
      In them baseball clothes o' his,
Sportin' round the orchad jes'
Like he owned the premises!
      Sun out in the fields kin sizz,
But flat on yer back, I guess,
      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 somepin' in
Work 'at kind o' goes ag'in'
   My convictions! - 'long about
      Here in June especially! --
      Under some ole apple tree,
         Jes' a-restin through and through,
   I could git along without
         Nothin' else at all to do
         Only jes' a-wishin' you
Wuz a-gittin' there like me,
And June wuz 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,
      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 --
June, you know, I'm talkin' of!

March ain't never nothin' new! --
April's altogether too
   Brash fer me! and May -- I jes'
   'Bominate its promises, --
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
   Fore daylight and snows ag'in! --
But when June comes - Clear my th'oat
   With wild honey! -- Rench my hair
In the dew! And hold my coat!
Whoop out loud! And th'ow my hat! --
   June wants me, and I'm to spare!
   Spread them shadders anywhere,
   I'll get down and waller there,
      And obleeged to you at that!

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley's other poems:
  1. Thoughts Fer the Discuraged Farmer
  2. The Old Swimmin'-Hole
  3. A Summer's Day
  4. Wortermelon Time
  5. My Philosofy

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