(4 November 1872 - 1934 / Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario)

Chore Time

WHEN I'm at gran'dad's on the farm,
I hear along 'bout six o'clock,
Just when I'm feelin' snug an' warm,
'Ho, Bobby, come and feed your stock.'

I jump and get into my clothes;
It's dark as pitch, an' shivers run
All up my back. Now, I suppose
Not many boys would think this fun.

But when we get out to the barn
The greedy pigs begin to squeal,
An' I throw in the yellow corn,
A bushel basket to the meal.

Then I begin to warm right up,
I whistle 'Yankee Doodle' through,
An' wrastle with the collie pup–
And sometimes gran'dad whistles too.

The cow-shed door, it makes a din
Each time we swing it open wide;
I run an' flash the lantern in,
There stand the shorthorns side by side.

Their breathin' makes a sort of cloud
Above their heads–there's no frost here.
'My beauties,' gran'dad says out loud,
'You'll get your breakfasts, never fear.'

When up I climb into the loft
To fill their racks with clover hay,
Their eyes, all sleepy like and soft,
A heap of nice things seem to say.

The red ox shakes his curly head,
An' turns on me a solemn face;
I know he's awful glad his shed
Is such a warm and smelly place.

An' last of all the stable big,
With harness hanging on each door, –
I always want to dance a jig
On that old musty, dusty floor.

It seems so good to be alive,
An' tendin' to the sturdy grays,
The sorrels, and old Prince, –that's five–
An' Lightfoot with her coaxing ways.

My gran'dad tells me she is mine,
An' I'm that proud! I braid her mane,
An' smooth her sides until they shine,
An' do my best to make her vain.

When we have measured oats for all,
Have slapped the grays upon the flanks,
An' tried to pat the sorrels tall,
An' heard them whinny out their thanks,

We know it's breakfast time, and go
Out past the yellow stacks of straw,
Across the creek that used to flow,
But won't flow now until a thaw.

Behind the trees the sky is pink,
The snow drifts by in fat white flakes,
My gran'dad says: 'Well, Bob, I think
There comes a smell of buckwheat cakes.'

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