The Scarecrow

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

More than cakes or anything
I like tales of shivering.
Once a scarecrow on a hill
Tossed his ragged arms at me
That was when I went to see
Folks that live at Fisherville.

And my father said, "You know,
When it's dark that old scarecrow
Gets down, rags and sticks and all,
And, like some old tramp, he goes,
Straw-wisps sticking from his toes,
Down the road, right past this wall.

"Wobble-legged and loose of arm,
Slow he shambles by the farm:
And if children are not good,
Snug in bed at eight o'clock,
On the window he will knock
With long knuckled hands of wood.

"Then his empty face pressed flat
To the pane, his tattered hat
Flopping in the wind, he'll shake
His gaunt finger at them; and
Threaten them with head and hand,
And with teeth, too, like a rake.

"Then into the night he'll pack,
There to meet with bogie Jack,
Jack-o'-Lantern; and the two,
Arm in arm, will wander on,
Scaring folks until it's dawn,
As all goblin people do.

"You may see them through the pane
Passing in the night and rain:
When you hear the watch-dogs bark.
Then along the weedy side
Of some garden dim they glide,
Where they grab you in the dark."

Sometime, when I can, for fun
I am going to take my gun;
Creep up on that hill and blow
That old scarecrow into bits
Then he can't scare into fits
Any children more, I know.

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