When the Frost in on the Pun'kin, and the Fodders in the Shock, Indiana

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Here is a genuine fall scene in the country. You could almost walk across the cornfield by stepping from pumpkin to pumpkin. In the background are some fodder shocks, and beyond this lies the apple orchard. It is "gathering-in" time in the fall. In the bright days of autumn when the frost glitters in the early morning, farmers begin to gather in the crops. James Whitcomb Riley, the Indiana poet, thought this the best time of the year. He tells about it in the poem that is the subject of this description. You have doubtless read others of poems such as "When the Flag Goes By," "The Old Swimmin' Hole," "Out to Old Aunt Mary's." Riley was born in 1853 at Greenfield, Indiana. He had only a common school education. Then he went as an assistant to a patent medicine man. Later he began writing verse for the Indianapolis papers. He soon became popular as the "Hoosier Poet," and is known all over the world where people like the poetry of common things. He died in 1916. Whittier also wrote a poem on the pumpkin: * * * * 

From his home in the north.
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are curling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines. 

* * * * 

What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past like the rich pumpkin pie? 

* * * * * 

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within! The last lines refer to Hallowe'en when the shell of the pumpkin is used to make a head in which a candle is set. Keystone ID: 16755 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.