09 October 2013

The October Series: Part 2 with the Hoosier Poet Riley

 
Bridge over Deer Creek
Certainly one would expect the appearance of Indiana's most famous poet, James Whitcomb Riley, in a series of poems about October.  A few weeks ago I spent the lion's share of the day driving down scenic roads in Carroll County, particularly around the Deer Creek neighborhood where Riley was said to frequent his favorite fishin' spot.  Here is Riley's take on October.


Old October
by James Whitcomb Riley

Old October's purt' nigh gone,
And the frosts is comin' on
Little heavier every day--
Like our hearts is thataway!
Leaves is changin' overhead
Back from green to gray and red,
Brown and yeller, with their stems
Loosenin' on the oaks and e'ms;
And the balance of the trees
Gittin' balder every breeze--
Like the heads we're scratchin' on!
Old October's purt' nigh gone.

I love Old October so,
I can't bear to see her go--
Seems to me like losin' some
Old-home relative er chum--
'Pears like sorto' settin' by
Some old friend 'at sigh by sigh
Was a-passin' out o' sight
Into everlastin' night!
Hickernuts a feller hears
Rattlin' down is more like tears
Drappin' on the leaves below--
I love Old October so!

Can't tell what it is about
Old October knock me out--!
I sleep well enough at night--
And the blamedest appetite
Ever mortal man possessed--,
Last thing et, it tastes the best--!
Warnuts, butternuts, pawpaws,
'Iles and limbers up my jaws
Fer raal service, sich as new
Pork, spareribs, and sausage, too--.
Yit fer all, they's somepin' 'bout
Old October knocks me out!

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