Lit2Go

Lyrics of Love and Laughter

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Fishing

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 736

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Wen I git up in de mo’nin’ an’ de clouds is big an’ black,
Dey’s a kin’ o’ wa’nin’ shivah goes a–scootin’ down my back;
Den I says to my ol’ ooman ez I watches down de lane,
“Don’t you so’t o’ reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine to have some rain?”

“Go on, man,” my Lizy answah, “you cain’t fool me, not a bit,
I don’t see no rain a–comin’, ef you’s wishin’ fu’ it, quit;
Case de mo’ you t’ink erbout it, an de mo’ you pray an’ wish,
W’y de rain stay ‘way de longah, spechul ef you wants to fish.”

But I see huh pat de skillet, an’ I see huh cas’ huh eye
Wid a kin’ o’ anxious motion to’ds de da’kness in de sky;
An’ I knows whut she ’s a–t’inkin’, dough she tries so ha’d to hide.
She ’s a–sayin’, “Would n’t catfish now tas’e monst’ous bully, fried?”

Den de clouds git black an’ blackah, an’ de thundah ‘mence to roll,
An’ de rain, it ‘mence a–fallin’. Oh, I’s happy, bless my soul!
Ez I look at dat ol’ skillet, an’ I ‘magine I kin see
Jes’ a slew o’ new–ketched catfish sizzlin’ daih fu’ huh an’ me.

‘T ain’t no use to go a–ploughin’, fu’ de groun’ ‘ll be too wet,
So I puts out fu’ de big house at a moughty pace, you bet,
An’ ol’ mastah say, “Well, Lishy, ef you t’ink hit ’s gwine to rain,
Go on fishin’, hit ’s de weathah, an’ I ‘low we cain’t complain.”

Talk erbout a dahky walkin’ wid his haid up in de aih!
Have to feel mine evah minute to be sho’ I got it daih;
En’ de win’ is cuttin’ capahs an’ a–lashin’ thoo de trees,
But de rain keeps on a–singin’ blessed songs, lak “Tek yo’ ease.”

Wid my pole erpon my shouldah an’ my wo’m can in my han’,
I kin feel de fish a–waitin’ w’en I strikes de rivah’s san’;
Nevah min’, you ho’ny scoun’els, need n’ swim erroun’ an’ grin,
I ‘ll be grinnin’ in a minute w’en I ‘mence to haul you in.

W’en de fish begin to nibble, an’ de co’k begin to jump,
I ’s erfeahed dat dey ‘ll quit bitin’, case dey hyeah my hea’t go “thump,”
‘Twell de co’k go way down undah, an’ I raise a awful shout,
Ez a big ol’ yallah belly comes a gallivantin’ out.

Need n’t wriggle, Mistah Catfish, case I got you jes’ de same,
You been eatin’, I ‘ll be eatin’, an’ we needah ain’t to blame.
But you need n’t feel so lonesome fu’ I ’s th’owin’ out to see
Ef dey ain’t some of yo’ comrades fu’ to keep you company.

Spo’t, dis fishin’! now you talkin’, w’y dey ain’t no kin’ to beat;
I don’ keer ef I is soakin’, laigs, an’ back, an’ naik, an’ feet,
It ’s de spo’t I ’s lookin’ aftah. Hit ’s de pleasure an’ de fun,
Dough I knows dat Lizy ’s waitin’ wid de skillet w’en I’s done.