Poem for Kids

Working a farm is one of the most demanding jobs there is. Imagine what it was like 130 years ago! This is the story of one farmhand's taxing day. Exaggerated? Maybe, but it may not be too far from reality at that time.

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A Day On The Farm, 1890

© more by Brian A. Bendall

Published: November 21, 2019

"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" I heard.
I really hate that lousy bird!
I got home late from Betty Lou's,
But now I've got my chores to do.

After oatmeal, ham and eggs,
An outhouse trip to ease my legs,
I braced myself to greet the day
And do the work that came my way.

I fed the chickens, slopped the hogs,
Milked the cows and bathed the dogs.
I marked the heifers with our brand
And wished we had a few more hands!

I plowed an acre for our beans,
Baled the hay and tore my jeans!
I patched the roof and fixed the gate.
I guessed my lunch would have to wait.

I mended fences 'round the farm,
Said, "Howdy!" to the cute school marm
And stood there sweating like a fool,
Wishing I was back in school!

Walking back, our bull attacked!
I dodged the cow flaps in my track!
I made it safely to the fence.
My loss of breath was my expense!

The hayloft boards I nailed were new.
The ladder broke, I fixed that, too.
The barn door hinges were replaced.
There's still another job I faced!

While in the barn, I shoed a horse....
...My energy had run its course....
And as my body hit the ground...
...I saw the sun was going down!

"Come and get it!" Supper calls!
I dragged my body from the stall.
A day I'd rather not repeat.
I hoped I still had strength to eat!

I cleaned manure off my shoes
And wondered if I'd paid my dues.
I brushed my clothes and washed my hands,
Then went to see what food was planned.

I pulled the screen door open wide,
Then struggled just to step inside!
There sat Ma and there sat Pa
With gravy dripping down his jaw!

"There's yer seat." My Papa said,
"Or would you rather go to bed?!"
I shook my head and sat me down.
I ate and didn't make a sound.

"In the morning," Papa said,
"There's sheep to shear.  There's twenty head!
A cord of wood you gotta cut,
And boy....you better move yer butt!"

At last, exhausted in my bed,
I thought of what my Papa said.
I have to do what I've been told!
What else is for a twelve year old?!

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