classic to enjoy rather than think you should have read
by C.J. Dennis
In the everlasting summer, when
the town is limp with heat,
and the asphalt of the footpath
curls your boots and burns your feet:
When you're creased and crabbed
and sodden, and can hardly raise a crawl,
And the persperation's drippin'
in a constant waterfall;
There's a penetratin' odor gets
abroad and fairly roars;
It will creep in through the
keyholes and it sneaks beneath the doors;
And it fills your happy home up
from the cellar to the roof,
Until ev'ry other odor holds its
breath and stands aloof.
That's Mutton! Mutton!
All-pervadin', never-fadin' smell
of cookin' sheep.
Into ev'ry room 'twill roam,
chasin' you from house and home,
Mutton flaunted, mutton-haunted,
even in your sleep.
You can smell it
in the parlor, you can feel
it in the hall,
you can HEAR it in the kitchen,
where it hugs you like a pall,
Hov'ring o'er your couch at
midnight, wafting thro' your troubled sleep:
First to greet you in the mornin'
when the day begins to peep.
Seek you vainly to evade it in an
It will rise and upper-cut you,
from the gratin's in the street.
Vain are all your disinfectants,
for they fail the woes to drown
Of a mutton-ridden people in a
Oh, the irony of hearin' songs
about the home, sweet home;
When you swelter in an oven where
the kitchen odors roam.
When each kindly word is wafted
on a mutton-scented breeze,
And each sigh stirs up
remembrance of a week of hashed-up teas;
Where endearing terms are
flavored with a touch of mutton raw,
And you sample last week's
dinner, ev'ry tender breath you draw.
Do you wonder that our home-life
isn't what it ought to be?
Do you know what sets us
drinkin', in our abject misery?
It's Mutton! Mutton!
Over-cloudin', odor-shroudin' all
in life that's bright;
By a thoughtless movement
stirred, chokin' down a kindly word,
mornin', noon and night.