Paul Laurence Dunbar Poems >>
Fishing

Wen I git up in de mo'nin' an' de clouds is big an' black,
 Dey's a kin' o' wa'nin' shivah goes a-scootin' down my back;
 Den I says to my ol' ooman ez I watches down de lane,
 "Don't you so't o' reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine to have some rain?"

 "Go on, man," my Lizy answah, "you cain't fool me, not a bit,
 I don't see no rain a-comin', ef you's wishin' fu' it, quit;
 Case de mo' you t'ink erbout it, an de mo' you pray an' wish,
 W'y de rain stay 'way de longah, spechul ef you wants to fish."

 But I see huh pat de skillet, an' I see huh cas' huh eye
 Wid a kin' o' anxious motion to'ds de da'kness in de sky;
 An' I knows whut she 's a-t'inkin', dough she tries so ha'd to hide.
 She 's a-sayin', "Would n't catfish now tas'e monst'ous bully, fried?"

 Den de clouds git black an' blackah, an' de thundah 'mence to roll,
 An' de rain, it 'mence a-fallin'. Oh, I's happy, bless my soul!
 Ez I look at dat ol' skillet, an' I 'magine I kin see
 Jes' a slew o' new-ketched catfish sizzlin' daih fu' huh an' me.

 'T ain't no use to go a-ploughin', fu' de groun' 'll be too wet,
 So I puts out fu' de big house at a moughty pace, you bet,
 An' ol' mastah say, "Well, Lishy, ef you t'ink hit 's gwine to rain,
 Go on fishin', hit 's de weathah, an' I 'low we cain't complain."

 Talk erbout a dahky walkin' wid his haid up in de aih!
 Have to feel mine evah minute to be sho' I got it daih;
 En' de win' is cuttin' capahs an' a-lashin' thoo de trees,
 But de rain keeps on a-singin' blessed songs, lak "Tek yo' ease."

 Wid my pole erpon my shouldah an' my wo'm can in my han',
 I kin feel de fish a-waitin' w'en I strikes de rivah's san';
 Nevah min', you ho'ny scoun'els, need n' swim erroun' an' grin,
 I 'll be grinnin' in a minute w'en I 'mence to haul you in.

 W'en de fish begin to nibble, an' de co'k begin to jump,
 I 's erfeahed dat dey 'll quit bitin', case dey hyeah my hea't go "thump,"
 'Twell de co'k go way down undah, an' I raise a awful shout,
 Ez a big ol' yallah belly comes a gallivantin' out.

 Need n't wriggle, Mistah Catfish, case I got you jes' de same,
 You been eatin', I 'll be eatin', an' we needah ain't to blame.
 But you need n't feel so lonesome fu' I 's th'owin' out to see
 Ef dey ain't some of yo' comrades fu' to keep you company.

 Spo't, dis fishin'! now you talkin', w'y dey ain't no kin' to beat;
 I don' keer ef I is soakin', laigs, an' back, an' naik, an' feet,
 It 's de spo't I 's lookin' aftah. Hit 's de pleasure an' de fun,
 Dough I knows dat Lizy 's waitin' wid de skillet w'en I's done.