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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MENDING BRUSH FENCE IN VERMONT, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: When in the spring the cattle moo
Last Line: Of that old fence.
Subject(s): Cattle; Farm Life; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers

WHEN in the Spring the cattle moo
And try to buck the barnyard wall,
The farmer has a thing to do
He doesn't like to do at all;
He knows that over in the swamp,
Where undergrowth and skeets are dense,
He's got about a dozen rods
Of old brush fence.

He knows that fence is pancake-flat,
And that to resurrect it so
A flock of steers will halt thereat,
He's got to live a day of woe;
He knows he's got to go himself,
And furnish time and tools and sense—
No hired man on earth can fix
An old brush fence.

He dreads it jest about a week
And then he gets the grace he lacks;
His soul with purpose springs aleak,
And up he jumps and hunts an axe;
He's lively as an active verb,
First person, singular, present tense—
He vows he'll fix that fence that day:
Confound that Fence!

He slings a harness onto Joe,
And grabs a whippletree and chain,
And hurries towards the locus quo
And then, By George! it starts to rain;
He looks around and calls the dog
To give his courage confidence—
A whole-souled dog is quite a help
At fixing fence.

And first he slays an aged ash
From which to carve for instant use
A mess of stakes, when crash on crash,
She lodges halfway up a spruce;
He hitches on to snake 'er down,
And snaps both tugs in consequence—
He's two-thirds mad and one-third riled:
Gol Darn that Fence!

At last he gets his stakes and starts
To drive 'em—hear that foggy thud—
But every blow with which he parts
Jest sinks him deeper in the mud;
He "drives" himself and not the stakes,
And cries with mournful eloquence—
"Why don't Dean Hills get up a way
To fix brush fence?"

He nextly cuts great loads of birch,
Scrub shoemake, hemlock, brush and brakes,
And drags 'em with a lifting lurch
And sticks 'em on the dewy stakes;
It's growing dark, he's had no lunch,
He finds the day's bright recompense
Is, that he's fixed about three rods
Of that old fence.

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