Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CORN-HUSKING, by EFFIE WALLER SMITH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE CORN-HUSKING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas a week before thanksgiving
Last Line: While the merry time away.
Subject(s): Corn; Harvest; Holidays; November; Thanksgiving

'Twas a week before Thanksgiving,
The days were very brief;
The woods were almost naked,
Save here and there a leaf
Of somber hue was clinging still
To a tiny, pliant bough,
Which mild October's gentle winds
Had failed it off to blow.

No flowers shed their fragrance
On the smoky atmosphere,
For the frost had nipped their beauty,
And left them dead and sere.
And no little feathered songsters
Warbled forth their happy lay,
For with the first light snow-fall,
To the South they flew away.

But on that day of memory
Of Indian Summer weather,
Within the wide, old shed we sat,
My love and I together,
With others, husking out the pile
Of Indian corn so bright
And yellow. How we worked that day,
From early morn 'till night.

Some talked awhile about the corn,
Talked of its size and weight;
How the drought had injured the early,
And the rain had ruined the late.
Some talked of preachers, and also
How few preached in Jesus' name,
Tho' many preached for money,
And many preached for fame.

Some disputed over politics;
Some talked of education;
Of men and women teachers
From high and lowly station;
Some were too vain and noisy,
And some too shy and grave,
Some's manners were too shrinking,
And some were far too brave.

But mostly all, both young and old,
Talked of the war with Spain;
Of how our gallant soldier boys
Had avenged the sunken Maine.
And how Dewey, gallant Dewey!
Had at break of day in May
Surprised the Dons, and routed
Them from Manila Bay.

And how Lieutenant Hobson
Performed his daring feat
When he sank the Merrimac,
And stayed Cervera's fleet.
And how, at Santiago hill,
The Spanish boys did hustle
When our boys cut the barbed wire fence,
And captured Morro Castle.

Well, of course we had a dinner,
And a sumptuous one at that;
Such as god or epicure
Would fain have feasted at:
Although it wasn't cooked or fixed,
In any new-fangled way,
But cooked by good old-fashioned cooks
In the good old-fashioned way.

But why need I talk so long and much
Of such a common thing
As a corn-husking which, each Autumn,
Just thousands of them bring.
Where the huskers all with friendly chat,
With stories grave and gay,
With frolic, riddle and with song
While the merry time away.

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