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DIPPING CANDLES IN VERMONT, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: A-dipping candles used to be
Last Line: Can turn no tastier trick today.
Subject(s): Family Life; Grandchildren; Vermont; Relatives; Grandsons; Granddaughters

A-DIPPING candles used to be
A sight it soothed your eyes to see;
It ain't like pouring tallow down
A metal throat you buy in town;
It ain't like fishing out a mold
And casting sugar cakes or gold,
It's wicking, tallow, wit and tact
Combined in one artistic fact.

And so it's right enough to ask
"Is this a squire's or lady's task?"
And echo answers sharp and clear,
"The female form is needed here;"
A man of candle-dipping turn
Would be the kind that wouldn't churn,
The kind that's always in the way
And never out of debt a day.

A soft-compacted wicking ball
Is what is needed first of all;
And this you see Fidelia touch
And take enough of, not too much;
And then she hums a little song
And cuts it "right," but not too long;
And then she knots it 'round her stick,
Jest thick enough, but not too thick.

Meanwhile, as probably as not,
The tallow's been a-getting hot,
And now the old big kettle cools
Amongst the backroom tubs and stools,
For substances solidify
At melting point, (X equals Pi);
That's why you have to "seize the hour"
Or get inferior candle power.

Then next Fidelia takes a chair—
The straight-backed one that's always there—
And grasps her hickory dipping-stick
That holds a dozen warps of wick,
And, poising it above the pool,
She lets it dip and drip and drool;
Then up and down again—jest so,
As Candle Brothers start to grow.

Then stick in hand, three steps or four
She takes and ope's the outside door,
Whereat all kinds of northwest cold
The little fellers' forms enfold,
With such effect the tallow dears
Hush up their stalactitic tears:
Then back she goes and starts again
To bathe the little candle men.

At last inside her box they go,
The pretty candles, "snow on snow,"
Each tallow man ten inches long,
Bemade with art, baptized with song;
Fidelia's handiwork, indeed,
It's all the blessing that they need;
Her grandchild, Gladys, let me say,
Can turn no tastier trick today.

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