Poetry of Kansas

Small Potatoes

      When the Autumn winds are sweeping
      And the cold chills come a-creeping
Up my back-bone and my wish-bone and my funny-
        bone and all,
      Then to me there comes a question,
      Just a sort of slight suggestion:
"Where are all your summer wages; what have you
        laid up for fall?"
      Then I say, "O, beg your pardon,
      I have quite a bit of garden."
And I straightway sail toward it with my tater fork
        and hoe;
      I explore the ground for tubers
      And I search my patch for goobers,
But on close investigation I perceive they did not
      Vines and stalks are there in plenty,
      But there is not one in twenty
That produced a single thing to eat, the summer was
        so dry;
      True, those later inundations
      Raised a crop of indications,
But I find there's nothing to them and I sadly pass
        them by.
      Then should I be disappointed___
      Let my feelings come unjointed?
No, for in my observations I have always found it so.
      This big world has many people
      Who run all to stalk and sepal,
Bright green leaves and flowery petals, anything to
        make a show.
    Like my rows of bum potatoes
      And my crop of fake tomatoes,
When you make a close inspection, you are filled
        with deep disgust.
      After calm investigating,
      After you have got their rating,
You have found them small potatoes, buried 'neath
        the clods and dust.

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Pages 30-31

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April 26, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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