Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VERMONT GRINSTONE, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A VERMONT GRINSTONE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Our old big grinstone used to stand
Last Line: And leaves him only one to turn.
Subject(s): Railroads; Stones; Vermont; Wagons; Wheels; Railways; Trains; Granite; Rocks

OUR old big grinstone used to stand
Inside the sleigh and wagon shed,
The jack and workbench close at hand,
The tackle blocks jest overhead;
It had a special blue-eyed grit
That took right hold of standard steel,
I never saw it flinch a bit—
That wondrous argillitic wheel.

They hauled it up from Boston back
In teaming times, so grandpa said,
While yet the Fitchburg railroad track
Was sleeping in its orey bed;
The neighbors liked that stone so much
It made us boys untimely stern,
For not a-one but old man Hutch
Would ever bring a hand to turn.

But worse than that, as you'll agree,
Was when that grinstone's form was towed
Outdoors beneath the Harvey tree
That grew tarnation near the road;
Each haying brought the move about—
When home we come from school, 'twas there;
The sap tub with the goosequill spout
Had also found the summer air.

Ten thousand scythes I'm sure we ground
Within the next six weeks or so;
One million times that stone went 'round,
And me the horse that made it go;
A cradle knife was worst of all—
You didn't have no horsepower left—
Five inches wide and five feet tall,
And add to that the grinder's heft.

But what jest made the world look brown,
Was turning there when folks went by;
Your backsides bobbing up and down,
Now towards the earth, now towards the sky;
Each time, by George! we went to grind
The city boarder girls I knew,
Would happen down the road and find
My shape a-writhing fro and to.

I'd see 'em up the road a mile,
Delightful lassies, every one;
But, Shucks! I couldn't bow or smile
As past they went a-full of fun;
I'd jest pull down my old straw hat,
And turn my face the other way,
Perhaps they'd think 'twas Foolish Nat
That always used to help us hay.

To keep the boys at home my code
Is this: All grinstones out of sight;
Don't set no grinstones next the road
Unless you want to grind at night;
Don't plant your Harveys 'round your door—
A fruit no boy on earth can spurn—
It takes one hand to hold the core
And leaves him only one to turn.

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