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Short poem

Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932)

A Courtin' Call


              1He dressed hisself from top ter toe
              2    To beat the lates' fash'n.
              3He give his boots a extry glow,
              4His dicky glistered like the snow,
              5He slicked his hair exactly so,
              6    An' all ter indicate "his pash'n."
              7He tried his hull three ties afore --
              8He kep' the one on that he wore.


              9All afternoon she laid abed
            10    To make her featturs brighter.
            11She tried on ev'ry geoun she hed,
            12She rasped her nails until she bled,
            13A dozen times she frizzed her head
            14    An' put on stuff to make her whiter,
            15An' fussed till she' d 'a' cried, she said,
            16But that 'ld make her eyes so red.


            17They sot together in the dark
            18'Ithout a light, excep' their spark,
            19An' neither could have told er guessed
            20What way the t'other un was dressed!


1] ter: to. The poem's dialect imitates colloquial speech of early 20th-century American working people.

3] extry: extra.

4] dicky: a starched detachable shirtfront.

7] hull: whole?

12] rasped: filed.

14] whiter: tanned faces betrayed outdoor work.

15] she' d 'a': she would have.

17] sot: sat.

20] the t'other: redundant, literally "the the other," but dialectal.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: A Patch of Pansies (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894): 66-67. Microtext Reading Room CIHM no. 29307. Robarts Library
First publication date: 1894
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/20

Rhyme: abaaabcc dedddeff gghh

Other poems by Edmund Vance Cooke