Ode To The Outhouse
by James Whitcomb Riley

  B ut when the crust was on the snow and the sullen skies were gray
In sooth, the building was no place where one could wish to stay.
We did our duties promptly, there one purpose swayed the mind,
We tarried not, nor lingered long on what we left behind,
The torture of that icy seat would make a Spartan sob,
For needs must scrape the gooseflesh with a lacerating cob,
That from a frost-encrusted nail was suspended by a string-
For Father was a frugal man and wasted not a thing.
  W hen Grandpa had to "go out back" and make his morning call,
We'd bundle up the dear old man with a muffler and a shawl,
I knew the hole on which he sat, 'twas padded all around,
And once I dared to sit there-'twas all too wide I found,
My loins were all too little and I jack-knifed there to stay,
They had to come and get me out or I'd have passed away.
Then Father said ambition was a thing that boys should shun,
And I just use the children's hole 'till childhood days were done.
  A nd still I marvel at the craft that cut those holes so true,
The baby hole, and the slender hole that fitted Sister Sue.
That dear old country landmark; I've tramped around a bit,
And in the lap of luxury my lot has been to sit-
But 'ere I die I'll eat the fruit of trees I robbed of yore
Then seek the shanty where my name is carved upon the door,
I ween the old familiar smell will soothe my faded soul,
I'm now a man, but none the less I'll try the children's hole.


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This Home Page was created on October 25, 1998
Most recent revision November 11