Thomas Augustine Daly

(28 May 1871 - 4 October 1948 / Philadelphia)

Da Sweeta Soil - Poem by Thomas Augustine Daly

All weenter-time I work for deeg
Da tranch een ceety street,
An’ I am looka like da peeg
An’ smal jus’ ‘bout as sweet,
Baycause my han’s, my face, my clo’es
Ees dirty as can be,
An’ sewer-gas ees een my nose
An’ steeck all ovra me.
More dirty an’ more mean I feel
Dan I am look to you;
My soul eenside ees seeck, but steell,
W’at am I gona do?
Ees notheeng sweet een ceety street
For mak’ me better man.
All men an’ theengs dat I am meet
Mak’ meanness all dey can,
An’ all dey speak ees ogly words
An’ do som’ ogly theeng.
So even, too, dose leetla birds,
Dat ought be glad an’ seeng,
Dey fight each other een da dirt
For dirty food dey eat.
Ah! so my soul eenside ees hurt
For work een ceety street.

But yestaday! oh, yestaday,
I leeve, I breathe again!
Da boss ees sand me far away
For work een countra lane.
How can I mak’ you ondrastand—
You are so grand, so reech—
To know da joy I feel, my frand,
For deeg dees countra deetch?
I sweeng my peeck, an’ oh! da smal,
W’en first I turn da sod!
So sweet! Escuse me eef I tal
Ees like da breath of God.
So pure da soil, like Eetaly,
I stoop an’ taka piece
An’ den—oh! don’ta laugh at me—
I talk to eet and kees!
An’ while I do dees foola theeng
An’ mak’ so seelly tears,
Ees com’ a pritta bird an’ seeng
Hees music een my ears.
You know dees ‘Mericana bird,
Weeth breast so lika flame,
So red; I do not know da word
You say for call hees name,
But w’at he seeng ees plain to me,
An’ dees ees part of eet:
'Ees spreeng, ees spreeng een Eetaly,
So sweeta, sweeta, sweet!'

Oh, eef you weesh da Dagoman,
Dat corn’ for leeve weeth you,
To be da gooda ‘Merican
An’ love dees countra, too,
I ask you tak’ heem by da hand,
Away from ceety street,
An’ show heem first dees granda land
Where eet ees pure an’ sweet.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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