The Poetry Corner

A Summer Pastoral

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

It's hot to-day. The bees is buzzin' Kinder don't-keer-like aroun' An' fur off the warm air dances O'er the parchin' roofs in town. In the brook the cows is standin'; Childern hidin' in the hay; Can't keep none of 'em a workin', 'Cause it's hot to-day. It's hot to-day. The sun is blazin' Like a great big ball o' fire; Seems as ef instead o' settin' It keeps mountin' higher an' higher. I'm as triflin' as the children, Though I blame them lots an' scold; I keep slippin' to the spring-house, Where the milk is rich an' cold. The very air within its shadder Smells o' cool an' restful things, An' a roguish little robin Sits above the place an' sings. I don't mean to be a shirkin', But I linger by the way Longer, mebbe, than is needful, 'Cause it's hot to-day. It's hot to-day. The horses stumble Half asleep across the fiel's; An' a host o' teasin' fancies O'er my burnin' senses steals,-- Dreams o' cool rooms, curtains lowered, An' a sofy's temptin' look; Patter o' composin' raindrops Or the ripple of a brook. I strike a stump! That wakes me sudden; Dreams all vanish into air. Lordy! how I chew my whiskers; 'Twouldn't do fur me to swear. But I have to be so keerful 'Bout my thoughts an' what I say; Somethin' might slip out unheeded, 'Cause it's hot to-day. Git up, there, Suke! you, Sal, git over! Sakes alive! how I do sweat. Every stitch that I've got on me, Bet a cent, is wringin' wet. If this keeps up, I'll lose my temper. Gee there, Sal, you lazy brute! Wonder who on airth this weather Could 'a' be'n got up to suit? You, Sam, go bring a tin o' water; Dash it all, don't be so slow! 'Pears as ef you tuk an hour 'Tween each step to stop an' blow. Think I want to stand a meltin' Out here in this b'ilin' sun, While you stop to think about it? Lift them feet o' your'n an' run. It ain't no use; I'm plumb fetaggled. Come an' put this team away. I won't plow another furrer; It's too mortal hot to-day. I ain't weak, nor I ain't lazy, But I'll stand this half day's loss 'Fore I let the devil make me Lose my patience an' git cross.