Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BURNING BRUSH IN VERMONT, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY



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BURNING BRUSH IN VERMONT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Most farms, in any place you please
Last Line: To burn a rousing batch of brush.
Subject(s): Farm Life; Fire-weeds; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers


MOST farms, in any place you please,
Have here and there some scattering trees,
Some oaks and elms and first growth stuff
A-standing where it's pretty rough;
And, p'r'aps, some orchard remnants, too,
Old trunks whose Pippin days are through;
And Gee! it used to do me good
When these went into winter wood—
I knew, despite the springtime rush,
There'd be a day for burning brush.

And so not far from April first,
When jokes and mud was at their worst,
We'd start some morning when the sky
Was deader than Dick Deadeye's eye;
And first, we'd hook the kitchen mop
And kerosene it wet as sop,
Then wrap it 'round some kindling sticks
And make a sort of fire-bug "mix,"
Then off we'd strike through mud and slush
To spend the day a-burning brush.

Our orders was from Uncle Dyer
To burn a stump with every fire,
And so we'd look around to see
Which stump had held the biggest tree;
And then we'd put our kindling kit
Right square, By Gosh! on top of it,
And then we'd heap a Camel's Hump
Of brush all over Mr. Stump,
And then would come a breathless hush
While Uncle D. "touched off" the brush.

In less, By George! than half an hour
That fire begun to "get the power;"
We danced and sung above its roar,
Like Bolsheviki, hollering "More;"
The smoke rolled off along the ground
As though a train of cars was 'round;
The flames shot upwards high and higher
As if St. Albans was afire;
The clouds got red as railroad plush—
Both heaven and earth was burning brush.

I recollect one measly morn
I slipped along the powder horn,
And sprinkled on the oily wood
More than, I guess, I s'posed I should,
So that when Uncle lit his match
The thing went up like Irish thatch:
What followed changed my views entire
Concerning powderizing fire—
The way he made my trousers blush
Linked up my life with burning brush.

There always seemed to be a strife
Between our fires and savage life;
The crows would light some distance off
And mock us with a cider cough;
The jays put up an awful fuss,
And once an adder stung at us,
And once a woodchuck give a jump
From right beneath a flaming stump—
The world with wonders seemed to gush
When we was out a-burning brush.

And once the blaze, with wicked sense,
Lit out for neighbor Newton's fence,
And 'fore we got the thing in tow
It burnt a rod of rails or so;
And sometimes, too, 'way after dark
We'd have to go and stomp a spark;
But still, as I those days recall,
They're worth an idle lawyer's scrawl—
I'd tramp again through mud and slush
To burn a rousing batch of brush.





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