Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)
Tek a cool night, good an' cleah,
Skiff o' snow upon de groun';
Jes' 'bout fall-time o' de yeah
W'en de leaves is dry an brown;
Tek a dog an' tek a axe,
Tek a lantu'n in yo' han',
Step light whah de switches cracks,
Fu' dey 's huntin' in de lan'.
Down thoo de valleys an' ovah de hills,
Into de woods whah de 'simmon-tree grows,
Wakin' an' skeerin' de po' whippo'wills,
Huntin' fu' coon an' fu' 'possum we goes.
Blow dat ho'n dah loud an' strong,
Call de dogs an' da'kies neah;
Mek its music cleah an' long,
So de folks at home kin hyeah.
Blow it twell de hills an' trees
Sen's de echoes tumblin' back;
Blow it twell de back'ard breeze
Tells de folks we 's on de track.
Coons is a-ramblin' an' 'possums is out;
Look at dat dog; you could set on his tail!
Watch him now--steady,--min'--what you 's about,
Bless me, dat animal's got on de trail!
Listen to him ba'kin now!
Dat means bus'ness, sho 's you bo'n;
Ef he's struck de scent I 'low
Dat ere 'possum's sholy gone.
Knowed dat dog fu' fo'teen yeahs,
An' I nevah seed him fail
Wen he sot dem flappin' eahs
An' went off upon a trail.
Run, Mistah 'Possum, an' run, Mistah Coon,
No place is safe fu' yo' ramblin' to-night;
Mas' gin' de lantu'n an' God gin de moon,
An' a long hunt gins a good appetite.
Look hyeah, folks, you hyeah dat change?
Dat ba'k is sha'per dan de res'.
Dat ere soun' ain't nothin' strange,--
Dat dog's talked his level bes'.
Somep'n' 's treed, I know de soun'.
Dah now,--wha 'd I tell you? see!
Dat ere dog done run him down;
Come hyeah, he'p cut down dis tree.
Ah, Mistah 'Possum, we got you at las'--
Need n't play daid, laying dah on de groun';
Fros' an' de 'simmons has made you grow fas',--
Won't he be fine when he's roasted up brown!
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