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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Knee-Deep in June

By James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)

TELL you what I like the best—

’Long about knee-deep in June,

’Bout the time strawberries melts

On the vine,—some afternoon

Like to jes’ git out and rest,

And not work at nothin’ else!

Orchard’s where I’d ruther be—

Needn’t fence it in fer me!

Jes’ the whole sky overhead

And the whole airth underneath—

Sorto’ so’s a man kin breathe

Like he ort, and kind o’ has

Elbow-room to keerlessly

Sprawl out len’thways on the grass

Where the shadders thick and soft

As the kivvers on the bed

Mother fixes in the loft

Allus, when they’s company!

Jes’ a sort o’ lazein’ there—

S’ lazy, ’at you peek and peer

Through the wavin’ leaves above,

Like a feller ’at’s in love

And don’t know it, ner don’t keer!

Ever’thing you hear and see

Got some sort o’ interest—

Maybe find a bluebird’s nest

Tucked up there conveenently

Fer the boys ’at’s apt to be

Up some other apple-tree!

Watch the swallers skootin’ past

’Bout as peert as you could ast;

Er the Bobwhite raise and whiz

Where some other’s whistle is.

Ketch a shadder down below,

And look up to find the crow;

Er a hawk away up there,

’Pearantly froze in the air!

Hear the old hen squawk, and squat

Over every chick she’s got,

Suddent-like!—And she knows where

That-air hawk is, well as you!

You jes’ bet yer life she do!

Eyes a-glitterin’ like glass,

Waitin’ till he makes a pass!

Pee-wees’ singin’, to express

My opinion, ’s second class,

Yit you’ll hear ’em more or less;

Sapsucks gittin’ down to biz,

Weedin’ out the lonesomeness;

Mr. Bluejay, full o’ sass,

In them base-ball clothes o’ his,

Sportin’ ’round the orchard jes’

Like he owned the premises!

Sun out in the fields kin sizz,

But flat on yer back, I guess,

In the shade’s where glory is!

That’s jes’ what I’d like to do

Stiddy fer a year er two!

Plague! ef they ain’t sompin’ in

Work ’at kind o’ goes ag’in

My convictions!—’long about

Here in June especially!

Under some old apple-tree,

Jes’ a-restin’ through and through,

I could git along without

Nothin’ else at all to do

Only jes’ a-wishin’ you

Was a-gittin’ there like me,

And June was eternity!

Lay out there and try to see

Jes’ how lazy you kin be!—

Tumble round and souse your head

In the clover-bloom, er pull

Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes,

And peek through it at the skies,

Thinkin’ of old chums ’at’s dead,

Maybe smilin’ back at you

In betwixt the beautiful

Clouds o’ gold and white and blue!

Month a man kin railly love—

June, you know, I’m talkin’ of!

March aint never nothin’ new!

April’s altogether too

Brash fer me! and May—I jes’

’Bominate its promises,

Little hints o’ sunshine and

Green around the timber-land—

A few blossoms, and a few

Chip-birds, and a sprout er two—

Drap asleep, and it turns in

’Fore daylight and snows ag’in!

But when June comes—Clear my throat

With wild honey! Rench my hair

In the dew! and hold my coat!

Whoop out loud! and throw my hat!

June wants me, and I’m to spare!

Spread them shadders anywhere,

I’ll git down and waller there,

And obleeged to you at that!