Old Man Winter

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

There is nothing at all to do to-day.
I can't go out and run and play;
For it's raining and snowing and sleeting, too;
And Old Man Winter he is to blame.
And I just sit here and think it a shame.
There is nothing at all to do.

I stand or sit at the windowpane,
And look at the snow and look at the rain,
And the old dead leaves go flying by;
For Wild Man Wind is making a din;
And mother says that it is a sin:
And I'm almost ready to cry.

I can't go out in the wind and wet,
And it's a long time yet till the table's set,
And we are ready for toast and tea:
It's a long time too till the lamp is lit,
And my father's home and I can sit,
And he can read to me.

And I can not play or do a thing;
And there's no one coming visiting,
For it's storming more and more:
But now and then there's a rat-tat-tat,
And I ask my mother what is that,
And she says, "The wind at the door."

And she says, "Now what can the Old Wind want
A-knocking there with his knuckles gaunt?
You can hear his old hat dripping rain,
And his ragged cloak that flaps and slaps.
Why, I guess he's looking for little chaps,
To give them a cold again.

"You can see him there by the water-spout
With Old Man Rain just flapping about,
His long sharp nose an icicle,
And his fingers too; and his old, wild eyes
Small and gray as the winter skies,
Or ice in a winter well."

And then she comes to my side and sits
And says, "Just listen how he hits!
But he can't get in and you can't get out:
And by and by he'll be out of breath,
And grumble and growl himself to death,
Or leave with a mighty shout."

Right then there comes a step on the stair,
And I run to see; and my father's there;
With snow and rain on his coat and hat.
Now Old Man Winter can break his cane,
Can crack his cane on the windowpane
I don't care a rap for that.

For my father's home! "It's a wild old night.
The Wind and the Snow are having a fight,"
He says, "and are mauling each other around:
First Old Man Snow rips out a curse;
Then Wild Man Wind says something worse;
Then both are on the ground.

"And Old Man Snow is underneath,
And he snarls like a wolf and shows his teeth,
While Wild Man Wind just hits and hits:
Then round they wrestle; and Old Snow reels,
His long wild whiskers around his heels,
And his gray cloak torn in bits.

"And before you know it he's up with a bound,
And it's Wild Man Wind that hits the ground,
And Old Man Snow holds down his arm:
You can see them there by the window-light,
Wrangling, wrestling out in the night,
Out in the night and storm."

Then I look and see how the wind and snow
Just fight it out and thrash and blow;
Their windy rags through the ghostly black
Go whistling past the windowpane:
Then I run to the fire and lamp again,
And reach a book from the rack.

The lamp is lit, and my father's knee
And the fairy tales are ready for me:
And I sit, and he holds me by the hand:
Now Wild Man Wind and Old Man Snow
Can do their worst and bluster and blow,
I am far in Fairyland.

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