#ClassicPoetry – #JamesWhitcombRiley – #FrostyPumpkins – #HappyFall

I know we have a lot of poets and poetry lovers in our writing community, and I really enjoy all the new and unusual forms. I do, however, still have a great fondness for the poetry I enjoyed years ago, many from days long gone by, even then. With that in mind, I decided to start sharing some of my favorite poems from those days of yore now and then. Hope you’ll enjoy some of these as much as I do.

In honor of the official arrival of fall, here’s one I’ve always loved. Keep in mind that Riley generally wrote his works in dialect, which many, including me, consider part of the charm. It might take some getting used to, but I think you’ll find he’s captured the spirit of autumn very, very well. 

When the Frost is on the Punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the “Hoosier Poet” and “Children’s Poet” for his dialect works and his children’s poetry. His poems tend to be humorous or sentimental. Of the approximately 1,000 poems Riley wrote, the majority are in dialect. His famous works include Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man“.

Hope you enjoyed this one, and that it brought a touch of autumn to remembrances of times gone by! I’ll be sharing another by Riley in two weeks, and then will move on to many other poets I’ve loved over the years.

But for now, HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!

21 thoughts on “#ClassicPoetry – #JamesWhitcombRiley – #FrostyPumpkins – #HappyFall

        • Haha. Gotcha! I have lived where pumpkins definitely got frosty (Pennsylvania and Alaska) but here in Florida, it happens very rarely. Once or twice a winter, we might get a thin layer of ice in the birdbath, but not very often. And I haven’t seen a frosty pumpkin down here since … well, EVER.


    • Me, too, John! This was one of many, many poems that were required reading in my high school English classes. Happily, I loved them all, so I thought it might be fun to share some here and there. I have a few already set up to run while I’m on my blogging “Slow Down,” and will probably do more after the first of the year, too, just for fun.

      Thanks for stopping by today! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad to introduce you to one of the great poets from long, long ago, Mae. Riley’s poetry always made me smile, and I’ll be sharing one more of his in two weeks, then moving on to some others I’ve loved for many years. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to say hello! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Denise. Riley was a big favorite of mine when I was first introduced to his work (long about 65 years ago or so). Stay tuned for one more from him in 2 weeks, and then I’ll move on to some other classic poetry I love.

      Thanks so much for stopping by today! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to have introduced you to a new “Old” poet, from long, long ago. But he wrote treasures that still strike a chord even today, I think. And I loved Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain) too! The old Broadway musicals pretty much all enchanted me. 😊 Thanks for stopping by today, Janet, and I hope you’ll enjoy these classic poems in the weeks ahead. (Riley will be back in two weeks before I move on to some other poets I love.) 😀 ❤


    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Debra, and happy to introduce you to a poet from the Days of Yore. John Whitcomb Riley was one whose work I loved when I was in high school, more than 60 years ago, and I thought it might be fun to share some of the classic poems we studied way back when.

      Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed it! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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