Green In The Trees

Recently, I came across a little book entitled, Riley Farm-Rhymes, by James Whitcomb Riley. The book is a collection of various farm poems written in the 1880’s.

For our amusement, here we’ll share a poem from the book that is appropriate for the new Spring weather.

When the Green Gits Back in the Trees

In Spring, when the green gits back in the trees,
And the sun comes out and stays,
And yet boots pull on with a good tight squeeze,
And you think of yer bare-foot days;
When you ort to work and you want to not,
And you and yet wife agrees
It’s time to spade up the garden-lot
When the green gits back in the trees
Well! work is the least o’ my idees
When the green, you know, gits back in the trees!

When the green gits back in the trees, and the bees
Is a-buzzin’ aroun’ ag’in
In that kind of a lazy go-as-you-please
Old gait they bum roun’ in;
When the groun’s all bald whare the hay-rick stood,
And the crick’s riz, and the breeze
Coazes the bloom in the old dogwood,
And the green gits back in the trees, –
I like, as I say, in sich scenes as these,
The time when the green gits back in the trees!

When the whole tail-feathers o’ Wintertime
Is all pulled out and gone!
And the sap it thaws and begins to climb,
And the swet it starts out on
A feller’s forred, a-gittin’ down
At the old spring on his knees-
I kindo’ like jest a-loaferin’ roun’
When the green gits back in the trees-
Jest a-potterin’ roun’ as I-durn-please-
When the green, you know, gits back in the trees!

Bad grammar aside, it is a charming poem. If you want to hear any more from this little volume, like the post and comment bellow.



3 thoughts on “Green In The Trees

  1. Love it. Good reminder that at one time, poetry was simply a way of life. During my research on the history of agriculture in the Midwest, I’ve found numerous collections of poems, some rough though charming, like the one above, and many quite elegant and well written, despite hard lives and rough conditions. Poetry was simply how people expressed things that mattered to them.

    • Here’s a collection I found while researching my book Midwest Maize — titled Corn Tassels, but a Nebraska poet widely published in the late 1800s but not really on anyone’s radar these days: William Reed Hopper Dunroy. Living in a sod hut on the Nebraska prairie, he managed to capture the wonder of being among the first to reach the region. But there were hundreds like this. The poetry section of magazines in the 1800s, at least in all the English-speaking countries, were among the most popular sections, and poets sometimes became quite famous. Not much like today. Anyway, here’s a link to one of the online versions of Corn Tassels (the 1897 version — there was another version published in 1902, with even more poems, but this is the collection with which I’m familiar). — I think you’ll enjoy some of the poems.

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