Recently, deep in the bowels of the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, a discovery was made. Uncovered was an 1848 book of poetry written by noted newspaperman Charles Eastman, who, with others, was affiliated with the Vermont (Barre) Patriot. Said paper was well-received in its day; here is an advertisement from the September 15, 1850 edition for the Boston Museum.

Eastman's book of poetry, published in Montpelier, is full of gems, including this wonderful offering.


The days we've so long dreaded,
The days of frost and snow,
Of winds that sweep the frozen street,
And whistle as they go-
The days of fickle temperament,
A smile and then a blow!
Of mud and mire and dirtiness,
Again, are ' here below !'

We sit and sneeze and cough in rooms
Insufferably hot,
And tumble over old accounts
Were never worth a groat!
And looking from the window,
Into our neighbor's lot,
We really argue if 'twere best
To steal his sheep or not!

The vines, frost-bitten, from the eaves
Hang blackening in the rain,
And trickling drops, like silent tears,
All day the windows stain;
The leaves are gone, the dead weed-stalks
Grow black upon the plain,
And herds are lowing in the fields
Where stood the gathered grain.

All day you hear the noisy crow
Upon the hemlock high-
In flocks, about the mountain ash,
The chirping robins fly;
The rustling leaves and yellow, drive
In mimic whirlwinds by,
Or on the wet and muddy walks,
In heaps, together lie.

The dripping of the rain is heard
Upon the roof all night,
And dark and heavy clouds obscure
The early morning's light;
We gape and stretch and feel as dull
As our grandmother's sight,
' Some ' older than Methuselah,
And cross enough to bite!

That summer's gone, and gone for good,
'Tis useless to protest,
When all the hills that you can see
In snowy caps are dressed;
When fogs upon the valley
From morn till evening rest,
And in his journey scarce the sun
Is seen from east to west.

Alas! these days of dumps and of
Interminable rains,
Of overcoats and overshoes,
And 'pothecary grains-
Of drops for coughs, and slops for colds,
From catnip tea to Swayne's,
Make the effort to survive appear
A questionable pains!

We hope your Thanksgiving holiday is warm, safe and peaceful. Maybe Thanksgiving Day would be a good time to reflect on Eastman's poem, and notice how little has changed about how this month is viewed. Some feel November is the right time to take a deep breath, slow down, and regroup. We're not adverse to that suggestion.
Vermont Hum is taking the week off to eat , drink and visit. Don't worry, though - we'll be back next Monday, with a brand new weekly feature on Vermont media. Stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You!

10:52 PM  

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    Location: Essex Junction, Vermont

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