Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

Fishing


Wen I git up in de mo'nin' an' de clouds is big an' black,
Dey's a kin' o' wa'nin' shivah goes a-scootin' down my back;
Den I says to my ol' ooman ez I watches down de lane,
'Don't you so't o' reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine to have some rain?'

'Go on, man,' my Lizy answah, 'you cain't fool me, not a bit,
I don't see no rain a-comin', ef you's wishin' fu' it, quit;
Case de mo' you t'ink erbout it, an de mo' you pray an' wish,
W'y de rain stay 'way de longah, spechul ef you wants to fish.'

But I see huh pat de skillet, an' I see huh cas' huh eye
Wid a kin' o' anxious motion to'ds de da'kness in de sky;
An' I knows whut she 's a-t'inkin', dough she tries so ha'd to hide.
She 's a-sayin', 'Would n't catfish now tas'e monst'ous bully, fried?'

Den de clouds git black an' blackah, an' de thundah 'mence to roll,
An' de rain, it 'mence a-fallin'. Oh, I's happy, bless my soul!
Ez I look at dat ol' skillet, an' I 'magine I kin see
Jes' a slew o' new-ketched catfish sizzlin' daih fu' huh an' me.

'T ain't no use to go a-ploughin', fu' de groun' 'll be too wet,
So I puts out fu' de big house at a moughty pace, you bet,
An' ol' mastah say, 'Well, Lishy, ef you t'ink hit 's gwine to rain,
Go on fishin', hit 's de weathah, an' I 'low we cain't complain.'

Talk erbout a dahky walkin' wid his haid up in de aih!
Have to feel mine evah minute to be sho' I got it daih;
En' de win' is cuttin' capahs an' a-lashin' thoo de trees,
But de rain keeps on a-singin' blessed songs, lak 'Tek yo' ease.'

Wid my pole erpon my shouldah an' my wo'm can in my han',
I kin feel de fish a-waitin' w'en I strikes de rivah's san';
Nevah min', you ho'ny scoun'els, need n' swim erroun' an' grin,
I 'll be grinnin' in a minute w'en I 'mence to haul you in.

W'en de fish begin to nibble, an' de co'k begin to jump,
I 's erfeahed dat dey 'll quit bitin', case dey hyeah my hea't go 'thump,'
'Twell de co'k go way down undah, an' I raise a awful shout,
Ez a big ol' yallah belly comes a gallivantin' out.

Need n't wriggle, Mistah Catfish, case I got you jes' de same,
You been eatin', I 'll be eatin', an' we needah ain't to blame.
But you need n't feel so lonesome fu' I 's th'owin' out to see
Ef dey ain't some of yo' comrades fu' to keep you company.

Spo't, dis fishin'! now you talkin', w'y dey ain't no kin' to beat;
I don' keer ef I is soakin', laigs, an' back, an' naik, an' feet,
It 's de spo't I 's lookin' aftah. Hit 's de pleasure an' de fun,
Dough I knows dat Lizy 's waitin' wid de skillet w'en I's done.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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