by ROBERT HILLYER (1895-1961)
Summer is over, the old cow said,
And they’ll shut me up in a draughty shed
To milk me by lamplight in the cold,
But I won’t give much for I am old.
It’s long ago that I came here
Gay and slim as a woodland deer;
It’s long ago that I heard the roar
Of Smith’s white bull by the sycamore.
And now there are bones where my flesh should be;
My backbone sags like an old roof tree,
And an apple snatched in a moment’s frolic
Is just so many days of colic.
I’m neither a Jersey nor Holstein now
But only a faded sort of cow.
My calves are veal and I had as lief
That I could lay me down as beef;
Somehow, they always kill by halves,—
Why not take me when they take my calves?
Birch turns yellow and sumac red,
I’ve seen this all before, she said,
I’m tired of the field and tired of the shed
There’s no more grass, there’s no more clover
Summer is over, summer is over.
A very fine poem from the 1920’s, not as well known as it should be. It was included in the Ralph Woods _Treasury of the Familiar_ and my English professor father knew it by heart snd so do I. If you recite it well at a campfire you can almost always get a few tears.
This is the only poem I cannot read out loud without crying.