Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PLANTING CORN IN VERMONT, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PLANTING CORN IN VERMONT, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: I learnt soon after I was born
Last Line: "no crows are working johnson's corn."
Subject(s): Corn; Farm Life; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers

I LEARNT soon after I was born
To never use "old land" for corn;
And breaking up, as all men know,
Means ribs that crack and tears that flow;
So that, at last, when day is done
It's bed and arnica "for one"—
Thus ends the blue-eyed Maytime morn
When man goes forth to plant his corn.

Then next you harrow out of sight
The stone your plow has brought to light;
And them the harrow fails to hide
You stoneboat off and leave one side;
And there they lay the weeds beneath
To crack the cultivator teeth—
So ends another Maytime morn
That finds you bent on planting corn.

In deference to perfect art,
I'll skip the fertilizer part,
Except to note that as you veer
Towards home when noon and night are near,
You're apt to hear a voice once sweet
Exclaim, "Say, Johnson, scrape your feet"—
Your very boots are viewed with scorn
Because there's "uplift" under corn.

And then you furrow out the ground,
To keep the rows from straggling 'round;
You drive a horse that drags a "frame,"
And walk behind, unless you're lame;
A pretty piece of work is this,
It wouldn't hurt a husky Miss,
Yet, shout she might, "Oh! I was born
To vote, instead of furrow corn."

Your planting bag you nextly need,
Of ticken made, and filled with seed;
You tie it 'round you on the slant
And grab your hoe and start to plant;
Three days or more you work that hoe
In sight of chief-detective Crow—
It's one, two, three, from early morn,
Then back again, a-planting corn.

Then comes the day your field to line
And hang your scarecrows high and fine;
Old cowbells, bits of glass that glare,
Your Jim Blaine hat and aunt's back hair;
Some hoopskirts worn by Nell McClure,
And mushrat skins that wouldn't cure—
There's nothing 'twixt the Pole and Horn
That isn't used in planting corn.

In 'bout a week, unless you fret,
The kernels sprout, if 'tisn't wet;
Of course, there's spots that wouldn't "come"
If they was called with fife and drum;
Them spots you plant three times or more,
And four, I've heard, in Avery's Gore—
It's jest a little bit forlorn
The fourth time over, planting corn.

And then comes in your little joke
As you some seed in pizen soak,
And sow it broadcast, far and near,
Wherever raven tracks appear;
You know each crow will sure "get his"
As you rest up your rheumatiz,
And brag all 'round, with lofty scorn,
"No crows are working Johnson's corn."

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