African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Time to Tinker Roun'" (1901)

Summah 's nice, wif sun a-shinin',
    Spring is good wif greens and grass,
  An' dey 's some t'ings nice 'bout wintah,
    Dough hit brings de freezin' blas;
  But de time dat is de fines',
    Whethah fiel's is green er brown,
  Is w'en de rain 's a-po'in'
    An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun.

  Den you men's de mule's ol' ha'ness,
    An' you men's de broken chair.
  Hummin' all de time you 's wo'kin'
    Some ol' common kind o' air.
  Evah now an' then you looks out,
    Tryin' mighty ha'd to frown,
  But you cain't, you 's glad hit 's rainin',
    An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun'.

  Oh, you 'ten's lak you so anxious
    Evah time it so't o' stops.
  W'en hit goes on, den you reckon
    Dat de wet 'll he'p de crops.
  But hit ain't de crops you 's aftah;
    You knows w'en de rain comes down
  Dat's hit's too wet out fu' wo'kin',
    An' dey 's time to tinker roun'.

  Oh, dey 's fun inside de co'n-crib.
    An' dey 's laffin' at de ba'n;
  An' dey 's allus some one jokin',
    Er some one to tell a ya'n.
  Dah 's a quiet in yo' cabin,
    Only fu' de rain's sof soun';
  So you 's mighty blessed happy
    W'en dey 's time to tinker 'roun'!

Published in Humor and Dialect
Also published in Colored American Magazine, April 1901

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