Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VERMONT GENERAL-UTILITY MAN, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A VERMONT GENERAL-UTILITY MAN, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: We used to have a man in town
Last Line: That bested jerry king.
Subject(s): Ingenuity; Neighbors; Vermont

WE used to have a man in town
That helped at everything;
He'd nail your suller windows down
And teach your bird to sing,
And make a boy a sling:
He'd "treat" a hen that longed to set,
He'd mend a gosling's wing—
I've never seen a feller yet
That equaled Jerry King.

They said he come from Warner's Jog,
Or up by McIndoes,
For when he spied a floating log
He'd kinder twist his toes,
And then his eyes would close,
As though he heard the breakaway
Of river drives in Spring—
He never had too much to say,
Subjective Jerry King.

He'd fix your pump and sodder tin
And plug a pewter cup,
And get the clock wheels all back in
When Johnny give it up;
And shear a fancy pup,
And graft a tree and doctor sprains
And cure a hornet's sting,
And carry off a pet's remains—
Old useful Jerry King.

He'd work up anybody's wood,
Except for Strutty Mills,
And make a hedgehogged dog feel good
By picking out the quills;
And witness deeds and wills,
And shave a pauper that was dead
And rig a picnic swing,
And "watch" where canker rash had spread—
Our neighbor, Jerry King.

There seemed to be no end of things
That Jerry liked to do:
We always run to Jerry King's
When things would come in two,
For he was "king" of glue;
He'd hoop a tub and fit a key
And find your wedding ring
Right there beneath the lilac tree—
Ingenious Jerry King.

He'd tile a well and run a ditch
And lay a 'butment wall,
And comb and braid a lady's switch
Or steam her "waterfall,"
And clean a Paisley shawl,
And take a Y-shaped stick and go
And find a living spring,
And pot a fuchsia so 'twould grow,
Yes; that was Jerry King.

He'd help cut up and salt the meat
And make or scald the brine,
And mend a haircloth sofa seat
And trim a Concord vine,
And fasten on the line
To trout hooks made without a hole
In which to put the string—
I've never seen a human soul
That bested Jerry King.

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