James Whitcomb Riley

Here you will find the Long Poem Knee-Deep in June of poet James Whitcomb Riley

Knee-Deep in June

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 -- 
Sort o' 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' lazin there - 
S'lazy, 'at you peek and peer 
Through the wavin' leaves above, 
Like a feller 'ats 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 boy 'at's ap' to be 
Up some other apple tree! 
Watch the swallers skootin' past 
Bout as peert as you could ast; 
Er the Bob-white 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 ever' 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 wingin', to express 
My opinion, 's second-class, 
Yit you'll hear 'em more er less; 
Sapsucks gittin' down to biz, 
Weedin' out the lonesomeness; 
Mr. Bluejay, full o' sass, 
In them baseball clothes o' his, 
Sportin' round the orchad 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 somepin' in 
Work 'at kind o' goes ag'in' 
My convictions! - 'long about 
Here in June especially! -- 
Under some ole apple tree, 
Jes' a-restin through and through, 
I could git along without 
Nothin' else at all to do 
Only jes' a-wishin' you 
Wuz a-gittin' there like me, 
And June wuz eternity! 

Lay out there and try to see 
Jes' how lazy you kin be! -- 
Tumble round and souse yer head 
In the clover-bloom, er pull 
Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes 
And peek through it at the skies, 
Thinkin' of old chums 'ats 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 ain't 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 th'oat 
With wild honey! -- Rench my hair 
In the dew! And hold my coat! 
Whoop out loud! And th'ow my hat! -- 
June wants me, and I'm to spare! 
Spread them shadders anywhere, 
I'll get down and waller there, 
And obleeged to you at that!