James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Waitin' Fer The Cat To Die - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Lawzy! don't I rickollect
That-'air old swing in the lane!
Right and proper, I expect,
Old times _can't_ come back again;
But I want to state, ef they
_Could_ come back, and I could say
What _my_ pick 'ud be, i jing!
I'd say, Gimme the old swing
'Nunder the old locus'-trees
On the old place, ef you please!--
Danglin' there with half-shet eye,
Waitin' fer the cat to die!

I'd say, Gimme the old gang
Of barefooted, hungry, lean,
Ornry boys you want to hang
When you're growed up twic't as mean!
The old gyarden-patch, the old
Truants, and the stuff we stol'd!
The old stompin'-groun', where we
Wore the grass off, wild and free
As the swoop of the old swing,
Where we ust to climb and cling,
And twist roun', and fight, and lie--
Waitin' fer the cat to die!

'Pears like I 'most allus could
Swing the highest of the crowd--
Jes sail up there tel I stood
Downside-up, and screech out loud,--
Ketch my breath, and jes drap back
Fer to let the old swing slack,
Yit my tow-head dippin' still
In the green boughs, and the chill
Up my backbone taperin' down,
With my shadder on the ground'
Slow and slower trailin' by--
Waitin' fer the cat to die!

Now my daughter's little Jane's
Got a kind o' baby-swing
On the porch, so's when it rains
She kin play there--little thing!
And I'd limped out t'other day
With my old cheer this-a-way,
Swingin' _her_ and rockin' too,
Thinkin' how _I_ ust to do
At _her_ age, when suddently,
'Hey, Gran'pap!' she says to me,
'Why you rock so slow?' ... Says I,
'Waitin' fer the cat to die!'

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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