Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems

by Isabella Valancy Crawford




“No,” said old Farmer Downs to me,
    “I ain’t the facts denyin’,
That all young folks in love must be,
    As birds must be a-flyin’.
Don’t go agin sech facts, because
I’m one as re-specks Natur’s laws.

“No, sir! Old Natur knows a thing
    Or two, I’m calculatin’,
She don’t make cat-fish dance and sing,
    Or sparrow-hawks go skatin’;
She knows her business ev’ry time,
You bet your last an’ lonely dime!

“I guess, I’m posted pooty fair
    On that old gal’s capers;
She allers acts upon the square
    Spite o’skyentific papers.
(I borrows one most ev’ry week
From Jonses down to “Pincher’s Creek.”) [Page 121]

“It sorter freshens up a man
    To read the newest notions,
Tho’ I don’t freeze much tew that thar plan,
    About the crops ratotions;
You jest leave Natur do her work,
She’ll do it! she ain’t one tew shirk!

“I’m all fur letting Natur go
    The way she’s sot on choosin’.
Ain’t that the figger of a beau
    That’s talkin’ thar tew Susan?
Down by the orchard snake-fence? Yes.
All right, it’s Squire Sims, I guess.

“He’s jest the one I want tew see
    Come sparkin’; guess they’re lyin’,
That say that of old age he be
    Most sartinly a-dyin’—
He’s no sech thing! Good sakes alive,
The man is only seventy-five!

“An’ she’s sixteen. I’m not the man
    Tew act sort of inhuman,
An’ meanly spile old Natur’s plan
    To jine a man and woman
In wedlock’s bonds. Sirree, she makes,
This grand old Natur, no mistakes.

“They’re standin’ pooty clus; the leaves
    Is round ’em like a bower,
The Squire’s like the yaller sheaves [Page 122]
    An’ she’s the Corn Flower,
Natur’s the binder, allus true,
Tew make one heart of them thar two.

“Yas—as I was a-sayin’, friend,
    I’m all for Natur’s teachins;
She ain’t one in the bitter end
    Tew practice over-reachins.
You trust her, and she’ll treat you well,
Don’t doubt her by the leastest spell.

“I’m not quite clar but subsoil looks
    Jest kinder not quite pious;
I sorter think them farmin’ books,
    Will in the long run sky us,
Right in the mud; the way they balk
Old Natur with thar darn fool talk!

“When Susie marries Squire Sims,
    I’ll lease his upland farm;
I’ll get it cheap enough from him—
    Jest see his long right arm
About her waist—looks orful big!
Why, gosh! he’s bought a new brown wig!

“Wal, that’s the way old Natur acts
    When bald folks go a-sparkin’;
The skyentists can’t alter facts
    With all their hard work larkin’,
A sparkin man will look his best—
That’s Natur—tain’t no silly jest! [Page 123]

“Old Natur, you and me is twins;
    I never will git snarly
With you, old gal. Why, darn my shins!
    That’s only Jonses Charlie.
She’s cuddlin’ right agin his vest!
Eh? What? ‘Old Natur knows what’s best!”

“Oh, does she? Wal, p’raps ’tis so;
    Jest see the rascal’s arm
About her waist! You’ve got tew go
    Young man, right off this farm;
Old Natur knows a pile, no doubt,
But you an’ her hed best get out!

    “You, Susie, git right hum. I’m mad
    Es enny bilin’ crater!
In future, sick or well or sad
    I’ll take no stock in Natur.
I’m that disgusted with her capers
I’ll run the farm by skyence papers.” [Page 124]