Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Oak and Ivy (1893)

Oak and Ivy

To Her Who has ever been My guide, Teacher, and Inspiration My Mother, This little volume is affectionately inscribed.

First published by Press of United Brethren Publishing House: Dayton, OH

Copyright 1893

A Summer Pastoral

It's hot to-day. The bees is buzzin'
Kinder don't-keer-like aroun',
An' fur off the warm air dances
O'er the parchin' roofs in town.
In the brook the cows is standin';
Childern hidin' in the hay;
Can't keep none of 'em a workin',
'Cause it's hot to-day.

It's hot to-day. The sun is blazin'
Like a great big ball o' fire;
Seems as ef instead o' settin'
It keeps mountin' higher an' higher.
I'm as triflin' as the childern,
Though I blame them lots an' scold;
I keep slippin' to the spring house,
Where the milk is rich an' cold.

The very air within its shadder
Smells o' cool an' restful things,
An' a roguish little robin
Sits above the place an' sings.
I don't mean to be a shirkin',
But I linger by the way
Longer, mebbe, than is needful,
'Cause it's hot to-day.

It's hot to-day. The horses stumble
Half asleep across the fiel's;
An' a host o' teasin' fancies
O'er my burnin' senses steals,--
Dreams o' cool rooms, curtains lowered,
An' a sofy's temptin' look;
Patter o' composin' raindrops
Or the ripple of a brook.

I strike a stump! That wakes me sudden;
Dreams all vanish into air.
Lordy! how I chew my whiskers;
'Twouldn't do fur me to swear.
But I have to be so keerful
'Bout my thoughts an' what I say;
Somethin' might slip out unheeded,
'Cause it's hot to-day.

Git up, there, Suke! you, Sal, git over!
Sakes alive! how I do sweat.
Every stitch that I've got on me,
Bet a cent, is wringin' wet.
If this keeps up, I'll lose my temper.
Gee there, Sal, you lazy brute!
Wonder who on airth this weather
Could 'a' be'n got up to suit?

You, Sam, go bring a tin o' water;
Dash it all, don't be so slow!
'Pears as ef you tuk an hour
'Tween each step to stop an' blow.
Think I want to stand a meltin'
Out here in this b'ilin' sun,
While you stop to think about it?
Lift them feet o' your'n an' run.

It ain't no use; I'm plumb fetaggled.
Come an' put this team away.
I won't plow another furrer;
It's too mortal hot to-day.
I ain't weak, nor I ain't lazy,
But I'll stand this half day's loss
'Fore I let the devil make me
Lose my patience an' git cross.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Oak and Ivy

3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, Ohio 45435. Phone: (937) 775-2525