The Poetry Corner

The Old Front Gate

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

W'en daih 's chillun in de house, Dey keep on a-gittin' tall; But de folks don' seem to see Dat dey 's growin' up at all, 'Twell dey fin' out some fine day Dat de gals has 'menced to grow, Wen dey notice as dey pass Dat de front gate 's saggin' low. Wen de hinges creak an' cry, An' de bahs go slantin' down, You kin reckon dat hit's time Fu' to cas' yo' eye erroun', 'Cause daih ain't no 'sputin' dis, Hit's de trues' sign to show Dat daih 's cou'tin' goin' on Wen de ol' front gate sags low. Oh, you grumble an' complain, An' you prop dat gate up right; But you notice right nex' day Dat hit's in de same ol' plight. So you fin' dat hit's a rule, An' daih ain' no use to blow, W'en de gals is growin' up, Dat de front gate will sag low. Den you t'ink o' yo' young days, W'en you cou'ted Sally Jane, An' you so't o' feel ashamed Fu' to grumble an' complain, 'Cause yo' ricerlection says, An' you know hits wo'ds is so, Dat huh pappy had a time Wid his front gate saggin' low. So you jes' looks on an' smiles At 'em leanin' on de gate, Tryin' to t'ink whut he kin say Fu' to keep him daih so late, But you lets dat gate erlone, Fu' yo' 'sperunce goes to show, 'Twell de gals is ma'ied off, It gwine keep on saggin' low.