James Whitcomb Riley

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

Wortermelon Time Poem by James Whitcomb Riley


Old wortermelon time is a-comin' round again,
And they ain't no man a-livin' any tickleder'n me,
Fer the way I hanker after wortermelons is a sin--
Which is the why and wharefore, as you can plainly see.

Oh! it's in the sandy soil wortermelons does the best,
And it's thare they'll lay and waller in the sunshine and
the dew
Tel they wear all the green streaks clean off of theyr
breast;
And you bet I ain't a-findin' any fault with them; ain't
you?

They ain't no better thing in the vegetable line;
And they don't need much 'tendin', as ev'ry farmer
knows;
And when theyr ripe and ready fer to pluck from the vine,
I want to say to you theyr the best fruit that grows.

It's some likes the yeller-core, and some likes the red.
And it's some says 'The Little Californy' is the best;
But the sweetest slice of all I ever wedged in my head,
Is the old 'Edingburg Mounting-sprout,' of the west

You don't want no punkins nigh your wortermelon
vines--
'Cause, some-way-another, they'll spile your melons,
shore;--
I've seed 'em taste like punkins, from the core to the rines,
Which may be a fact you have heerd of before

But your melons that's raised right and 'tended to with
care,
You can walk around amongst 'em with a parent's
pride and joy,
And thump 'em on the heads with as fatherly a air
As ef each one of them was your little girl er boy.

I joy in my hart jest to hear that rippin' sound
When you split one down the back and jolt the halves
in two,
And the friends you love the best is gethered all around--
And you says unto your sweethart, 'Oh, here's the
core fer you!'

And I like to slice 'em up in big pieces fer 'em all,
Espeshally the childern, and watch theyr high delight
As one by one the rines with theyr pink notches falls,
And they holler fer some more, with unquenched
appetite.

Boys takes to it natchurl, and I like to see 'em eat--
A slice of wortermelon's like a frenchharp in theyr
hands,
And when they 'saw' it through theyr mouth sich music
can't be beat--
'Cause it's music both the sperit and the stummick
understands.

Oh, they's more in wortermelons than the purty-colored
meat,
And the overflowin' sweetness of the worter squshed
betwixt

The up'ard and the down'ard motions of a feller's teeth,
And it's the taste of ripe old age and juicy childhood
mixed.

Fer I never taste a melon but my thoughts flies away
To the summertime of youth; and again I see the dawn,
And the fadin' afternoon of the long summer day,
And the dusk and dew a-fallin', and the night a-comin'
on.

And thare's the corn around us, and the lispin' leaves and
trees,
And the stars a-peekin' down on us as still as silver
mice,
And us boys in the wortermelons on our hands and knees,
And the new-moon hangin' ore us like a yeller-cored
slice.

Oh! it's wortermelon time is a-comin' round again,
And they ain't no man a-livin' any tickleder'n me,
Fer the way I hanker after wortermelons is a sin--
Which is the why and wharefore, as you can plainly see.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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