Poetry of Kansas

The Gradgerratun' O' Joe.

Way down crost the meadow an' cow-lot,
    Thro' paths made by cattle an' .sheep,
Where, cooled in the shade by the tall ellums made,
    The old crick has curled up to sleep;
Down there where the wind sighun' mingles
    'Ith prattelun' waters at play,
And the coo coo coo of the turtle-dove too,
    Seeps in from the dim far away;
 Down there by the banks of the Willer__
    In spring where the sweet-williams grow__
'Twas at this place 'at he all the time used to be__
    The home of our little boy Joe.
    My oh__
              How long ago.
Nope; none o' you couldn't 'a' knowed him,
    Way back there in seventy-four,
When Idy an' me concluded 'at we
    'Ud educate Joe, rich or pore.
I mind how we skimped, scraped an' worried,
    An' how our first Christmas was dim,
An' how mother cried when we had to decide,
    We couldn't send nothin' to him.
An' nobody else dreams the sorrow
    'At Idy an' me 'd undergo,
A livun' that way all alone ever' day,
    A yearnun' an' longun' fer Joe.
    High O,
              Long ago.
So Idy an' me went together,
    To hear little Joe gradgerrate;
Little Joe, did I say? Meant big, anyway;
    He spoke on the subject of "Fate."
An' my! but the "effort was splendid,"
    The folks said 'at set by my side,
But I never hyurd a sentence 'er word,__
    An' mother jest broke down an' cried
I had n't the heart fer to ask her
    What was the matter, you know;
Fer I felt she'd 'a' said: "Our baby is dead,
    I want back my own little Joe:
    Our Joe
              Of long ago."
So foller me down thro' the cow-lot__
    Thro' paths made by cattle an' sheep,
To where in the shade by the tall ellums made
    The old creek is tucked in to sleep;
Where sighs of the tired breeze whisper
    To quiet the waters at play;
An' the dreamy coo coo of the turtle-dove true
    Frightens care-phantoms away;
Fer I like to set hyur a thinkun',
    An' astun the waters 'at play,
What's come o' the dear little boy 'at played here
    In the days o' the long ago?
    Our Joe;
              High ho!
__William Allen White

Kansas In Literature__Part I. Poetry
Introduction by William Herbert Carruth
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)
Pages 96-97

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November 22, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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