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Page 7

Joseph Langland
Nine Poems from " Haruspicating on Valley --View Farm
SACRIFICE OF GOPHERS AND WOODCHUCKS

When I was a young one
I used to trap gophers
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide)
And caught woodchucks.
It was all business pride;
Nobody stung one.

I got up at five -
I mean, really early -
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide)
And jangled my traps
At my shoulder sides;
Boy, I was alive.

I carried a stick-club
In my right hand always
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide).
It was all you needed
To finish them off with:
A quick sharp thud.

Gophers brought thistles.
That's what neighbors said
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide).
They ruined the grainfields,
The whole countryside.
Had odd whistles.

Father didn't like them.
Neither did I
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide).
If he had a pitchfork
By when I caught one,
Quick, he would spike him.

When taut chains drag
In a woodchuck's hole
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide)
You know, if it goes
All slack on the guide,
She bit off a leg.

Easy, I pulled them
Home from their burrows
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide) ;
Then's when I slugged them.
It saved my pride
For when I sold them.

Inflation caught me
By my confirmation
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide).
It seems that I never
Will keep my pride
With what that brought me.

I like looking back
On natural hours
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide),
Barefoot at dawn with
Chucks on the hillside,
Fresh ears in my sack.

This is not hearsay.
I've been a young trapper
(10¢ for the ears, and 15¢ for the hide),
And I'm not surprised seeing
Some people at morning
Crying, "God a mercy!"

travel books:
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