Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERMONT WOOL CARDING, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

VERMONT WOOL CARDING, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: A-when we used to shear the sheep
Last Line: The greeley hat and paisley shawl.
Subject(s): Farm Life; Fields; Sheep; Shepherds & Shepherdesses; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers; Pastures; Meadows; Leas

A-WHEN we used to shear the sheep,
And grandpa Tripp did up the wool,
He'd put his leather apern on
And give the strings a special pull;
And then he'd keep his specs a-peeled
The whole day long to find a fleece
With "staple" long and strong and white,
A fleece that hefted 'zactly right,
And free from taggings, ticks and grease.

And then some sunny summer day
When grandma thought she'd like to ride,
They'd wrap that fleece in cotton web
And lay it in behind with pride;
And then they'd start for Bailey's Mills,
A-where the water cards was at—
I see 'em going—grandma tall
And 'portant with her Paisley shawl,
And grandpa with his Greeley hat.

They left the fleece, but not the web,
And then in 'bout a month or so,
They went again to get the rolls—
A-whiter than enameled snow;
And that one fleece made parcels three
Of rolls, as soft as baby curls,
Or clouds that float on summer morns,
Each parcel fastened up with thorns
A-cut by Bailey boys and girls.

And then the woodhouse chamber saw
New kinds of doings—spinning wheel
And slow-poke swifts a-come to light
And stood beside the old clock reel;
And every pleasant afternoon,
As soon as grandma changed her cap,
And took her cup of Hyson tea,
That wheel would buzz like some big bee
A-chasing up a foolish chap.

As soon as all the rolls was spun
And skeined, we'd have a coloring day;
We'd go and get the butnut shucks
And shoemake buds we'd put away,
And when the skeins was steeped and steeped,
And looked as black as Satan's face,
Then grandma put some mordant in,
That come done up in heathen's skin,
To make the color keep its place.

Then how the knitting needles jumped
Each evening all the Autumn through!
'Twas stockings, wristers, mittens, scarfs—
We all had something nice and new;
But gramp and grandma had the least,
Although they did the most of all,
And I'll not let myself forget
The loving work they did, nor yet
The Greeley hat and Paisley shawl.

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