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Old Jack Frost
Madison Julius Cawein


Last night we were kept awake.
Couldn't sleep for Old Jack Frost;
Wandering ‘round like some old ghost.
Gave the door an awful shake;
Knocked against my bed's brass post.
Last night we were kept awake.

Couldn't sleep he made such noise;
Rapped and tapped and prowled around.
Once he made a snapping sound
Just like that of breaking toys.
You'd have been scared, too, I’ll be bound.
Couldn't sleep he made such noise.

All was dark and very still,
When, right at the window, "bing,"
Came a rap that made me sing,
"Mother, I'm afraid!" until
Mother fussed like everything.
All was dark and very still.

"Old Jack Frost is raising Ned.
And to-morrow, wish to state,
We'll get even, sure as fate;
Cure him of his tricks," she said;
"Start a fire in the grate.
Old Jack Frost is raising Ned."

Then I heard my father's voice:
"You just let Jack Frost alone.
He's good friends, you should have known,
With Old Santa. Little boys
Are not scared of him, my son."
Then I heard my father's voice.

So I went to sleep again:
Let him bang the furniture
All he cared to. I was sure
I'd get even; that was plain:
Old Man Fire would be his cure,
So I went to sleep again.

Once he rattled at my mug
Where was water: then he crept
‘Round the room and softly stept
Here and there upon the rug;
Felt his breath, but I just slept.
Once he rattled at my mug.

Well, you should have seen the things
That he painted on the panes
When ‘twas morning: towns and trains;
Flowers and fairies; ropes and rings;
Stars and ribboned weather-vanes.
Well, you should have seen the things!

I just shouted when I saw.
Called to father: "Just look here!
Old Jack Frost is such a dear!
Wish he'd show me how to draw.
I'd be good for one whole year."
I just shouted when I saw.

The Giant and the Star: Little Annals in Rhyme (Small, Maynard & Company, 1909).
This poem is in the public domain.




Madison Julius Cawein (1865 - 1914) was a poet from Louisville, Kentucky, who loved to write about nature. Sometimes referred to as "the Keats of Kentucky," Madison published more than thirty books of his own work and translated numerous others written by German poets. While nature was his favorite theme--his wonderfully detailed poems about his native state's flora and fauna have been called a "veritable nature guide to the Kentucky woodlands"--Madison also wrote about a broad range of other subjects, ranging from vampires to fairies. Critically popular, internationally acclaimed, and frequently published in contemporary magazines of his day, Madison was rendered almost destitute by the stock market crash in 1912 and was forced to sell his home and much of his library collection to survive.


Post New Comment:
Very quaint and I can see why he was popular of his day and time. Yes, rhyme ruled in that period. I loved it.
Posted 12/17/2018 08:02 AM

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