Poetry of Kansas

When the Worm Turned

    I spaded up the garden in the early days of
spring and I planted it to celery and beets and I
thought the cost of living to the bottom I would bring
when the time was ripe for every kind of eats. But
the chickens saw me toiling with the pitchfork and
the hoe and the rooster winked and beckoned to the
hens and for forty blocks around me they came
marching in a row from the stables and the poultry
house and pens. Oh, they landed in that garden like
a fierce, avenging sprite that the fantod or the jim-
jam oft begets and they dug from early morning till
the sun went down at night and they filled the air
with dirt and onion sets. With an eye to things
esthetic, I went out upon the lawn and I planted
hollyhock and buttercup but my heart was filled with
longing ere I saw another dawn for the life-blood of
my neighbor's brindle pup. He had issued invita-
tions to the other dogs in town and they gathered in
the gloaming by the score and they tramped my
johnny-jump-ups and my bouncing-betties down and
they left me feeling mighty sad and sore. Then I
went to seeing crimson and I grabbed my blunderbuss
that I'd loaded full of buckshot for the day when I
feared that Kaiser William might be aching for a
fuss with a real, fighting, Yankee Doodle jay. When
the twilight fell at even on that scene of bloody strife
there were chicken guts and feathers everywhere;
of a dozen curs that lately had been brimming o'er
with life there was nothing left but license tags and

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 34

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June 25, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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