Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PICKING APPLES IN VERMONT, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY



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PICKING APPLES IN VERMONT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Wake up there, boys, no time to dream
Last Line: "we plumb forgot to salt the sheep."
Subject(s): Apples; Farm Life; Fields; Fruit; Harvest; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers; Pastures; Meadows; Leas


"WAKE up there, boys, no time to dream,
Back out the cart, hitch up the team;
Get all the baskets, big and small,
And fetch a bag, we'll need 'em all;
And get some salt, we'll salt the sheep
And make what card folks call a sweep;
The little ladder, fetch that, too,
It knows the business bettern you;
And now tie on the apple pole
And then the old red wheels can roll."

Behold the happy outfit start,
A father, horses, boys and cart:
"Yes; Jimmy, you may drive, but see
You don't rip up an apple tree;"
The orchard lays a league away,
A farm that grows abandoned hay,
But chuckablock with natural fruit
And quite a lot of 'grafts to boot;
A luscious land for yearling stock,
Or sheep that love a three mile walk.

"Drive in there, Jimmy, cramp your cart,
And set it facing right to start;
Get up there, Dick, and shake a tree,
But don't fall onto Mike or me;
Don't shake too hard—about like that—
Look up, not down—don't lose your hat;
There comes the rain in big red drops,
Jest keep 'er up until it stops;
Now back down slow—don't be too fleet—
You haven't got no nuthatch feet."

But 'fore the boys can really hit
The job, they have to fool a bit;
They hunt for yallerhammer holes
And play a game of apple bowls,
And run and race like everything
To find the ancient well or spring,
And practice that ballistic trick
Of slinging apples off a stick:
Without a house or barn in sight
The boys would stay all day and night.

And now all hands with right good will
Fall on their knees and pick up-hill;
The fruit from hand to basket hops
And then inside the cart-box drops,
And where the sheep paths overflow
They scoop it up as ducks do dough;
In two short hours the cart is full,
And then begins the homeward pull:
It's "Jimmy, check up Sam and Bill,
We'll start a-towards the cider mill."

Jest halfway home the road turns sharp,
And shows the mill of Sandy Tharp;
They cramp and back and cramp again
And out a-come the helper men;
The load gets shoveled right straight in
To Sandy's thousand-bushel bin,
Which done, they move with quicker pace,
And getting near the homestead place,
"I Snum!" says Dad, in chest tones deep,
"We plumb forgot to salt the sheep."





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