Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SHALL VERMONTERS RAISE SHEEP?, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY



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SHALL VERMONTERS RAISE SHEEP?, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I see the boston papers say
Last Line: Until there's more demand for sheep.
Subject(s): Farm Life; Fields; Sheep; Shepherds & Shepherdesses; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers; Pastures; Meadows; Leas


I SEE the Boston papers say
Vermont should tread the woolly way;
Their columns shout in accents deep—
"Wake up! and to go raising sheep;
With bleating flocks your hills endot
And muttonize each vacant lot;
Time was, Vermont Merinos stood
Against the world, and so they should,
And then you all went off to sleep—
Wake up! and raise a million sheep."

It's natural—and it does no harm—
For them to tell us how to farm;
This raising sheep, like raising Cain,
Is easy for a city swain;
The Boston farmer knows what's best
For folks down East and folks out West;
He's thought it through with special care
'Twixt Young's Hotel and Harvard Square,
But still he hasn't had to keep
A lantern lit for sickly sheep.

He hasn't had to dodge and duck
Before a serious-minded buck;
He's never "sheared" for twenty days
And got no pay but pork and praise;
He's never shortened horns or tails
Or cut a kicking cosset's nails;
He's never fussed with neighbor Brown
Because his fence was always down;
He's never waded where 'twas deep
And washed and ironed a hunderd sheep.

I knew a farmer near Vergennes
Who swapped his Dorset flock for hens;
He traded even, sheep for hen,
And felt so good he cried Amen!
"No more around the kitchen stove,"
He said, "will wobbly lambkins rove;
No more at sunrise will I pull
From angel sheep their mortal wool—
Oh! I'm so glad that I could weep,
I'm free from sorrow, sin and sheep."

I knew a farmer's wife that said
"You'll find me at the sheep barn dead
Some April day, and when you do,
You'll see my body broke in two;
I always know 'twill happen when
I throw myself acrost a pen
To make a mean old sheep be good
And own her baby as she should—
Oh! what a cup of tea I'd steep
If John would only sell his sheep."

You see this business has a side
The Boston farmer hasn't tried;
No doubt he knows how cutlets taste
With little peas and spinach graced,
But has he ever struck a lick
At doctoring foot-complaint or tick?
Or has he ever sold a pelt
For what would buy jest sixteen smelt?
I guess this city plan will "keep"
Until there's more demand for sheep.





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