Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poem of the Day:
"A Country Boy in Winter" by Sarah Orne Jewett
American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century

The wind may blow the snow about,
For all I care, says Jack,
And I don’t mind how cold it grows,
For then the ice won’t crack.
Old folks may shiver all day long,
But I shall never freeze;
What cares a jolly boy like me
For winter days like these?

Far down the long snow-covered hills
It is such fun to coast,
So clear the road! the fastest sled
There is in school I boast.
The paint is pretty well worn off,
But then I take the lead;
A dandy sled’s a loiterer,
And I go in for speed.

When I go home at supper-time,
Ki! but my cheeks are red!
They burn and sting like anything;
I’m cross until I’m fed.
You ought to see the biscuit go,
I am so hungry then;
And old Aunt Polly says that boys
Eat twice as much as men.

There’s always something I can do
To pass the time away;
The dark comes quick in winter-time—
A short and stormy day
And when I give my mind to it,
It’s just as father says,
I almost do a man’s work now,
And help him many ways.

I shall be glad when I grow up
And get all through with school,
I’ll show them by-and-by that I
Was not meant for a fool.
I’ll take the crops off this old farm,
I’ll do the best I can.
A jolly boy like me won’t be
A dolt when he’s a man.

I like to hear the old horse neigh
Just as I come in sight,
The oxen poke me with their horns
To get their hay at night.
Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
And like to see me come.
Some fellows talk about New York,
But I shall stay at home.

Today was finally a cooler one; up until now I had almost been wishing for winter, almost.

Jewett's speaker finds his manhood in wintry labor, as his father tells him he must do a man's work now. Most likely he will chop wood, feed the horses, mend the barn.

I have found not my adulthood, but my old age, my elderhood, in this heat. It reached 90 degrees nearly every day for the past two weeks. Finally, I can breathe. Finally, I can stop walking slowly, laboring under the burden of the sun, high and heavy in the sky.

It's time to take back my youth from the heat. Here goes nothing...
(Grabs boxing gloves, thrusts them on hands, and puts game face -- sometimes mistaken for frightened face -- on).

A Poem A Day Audrey


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