Poetry of Kansas

The Year
The Locusts Come.

We all listened, you might know,
When we heard the folks at home,
Though they said it sad and low,
"This is the year the locusts come."
Some declared 'twas every seven,
Then seventeen said some,
But when we turn 'em up in plowin',
That's the year the locusts come.
Us boys could just remember
When we was little chaps,
Of them roarin' in the timber
And us gatherin' 'em in our caps,
To feed the pet squirrels on.
They'd eat all but the wing,
Then mother'd speak so frightened,
"Don't you know the things 'll sting?"
That 'ud make us sort o' stop it,
Till we'd go for wood ag'in,
Then we'd fill our breeches' pockets
And cram the critters in;
Then we'd get more stricter orders
And act on 'em some,
To emulate our moderation
On the year the locusts come.
The mulberries was so thick
That we spread a wagon tent;
Jest thrashed the tree-top with a stick
And they'd pile up where 'twas bent;
Then fillin' every bucket full
We'd trudge away toward home,
Happiest ever mortal man was
The year the locusts come.
But when we spread our things about,
And set down at home to rest,
They told us how the news was out
That this plaguey locust pest
Had poisoned all the berries,
That every bucket full was stung;
Jest the saddest news a goin'
The year the locusts come.
We couldn't throw 'em all away;
Then mother said, "La me !
You've been eating all day,
There's no danger now, you see."
And such another frolicin';
We made the homestead hum,
And jest gorged on pies and short-cake
The year the locusts come.

__C. P. Slane.

Flashlights and Territorial Reminiscences of Kansas
In Verse

C. P. Slane
(Cincinnati: The Editor Publishing Co. 1900)
Pages 63-64

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July 2, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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