KNEE-DEEP IN JUNE
By James Whitcomb Riley
~The Hoosier Poet~
Born October 7, 1849; died July 22 1916
Note: Mr. Riley has used the Hoosier (Indiana) dialect
in this poem, which may make it a challenge for some.
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 for me!--
Jes' the whole sky overhead,
And the whole airth underneath--
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 shadders thick and soft
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
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 sorto' interest--
Maybe find a bluebird's nest
Tucked up there conveniently
Fer the boy 'at's ap' to be
Up some other apple-tree!
Watch the swallers scooting' past
'Bout as peert as you could ast;
Er the Bob-white raise and whiz
Where some other's whistle is.
Ketch a shader down below,
And look up to find the crow--
Er a hawk--away up there,
'Peerantly 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!
* * * * *
Plague! ef they ain't somepin' in
Work 'at kindo' goes ag'in
My convictions!--'long about
Here in June especially!--
Under some old 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 was 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 'at's dead;
Maybe smiling' back at you
I' betwixt the beautiful
Clouds o' gold and white and blue!--
Month a man kin rally love--
June, you know, I'm talkin' of!
March ain't never nothin' new!--
Aprile's altogether too
Brash for me! and May--I jes'
'Bominate its promises,--
Little hints o' sunshine and
Green around the timber-land--
A few promises, 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 throat
With wild honey!--Rench my hair
In the dew! and hold my coat!
Whoop out loud! and throw my hat!--
June wants me, and I'm to spare!
Spread them shaders anywhere
I'll git down and waller there,
And obleeged to you at that!