Itchy

When I was a boy, I spent many hours running through the woods behind our house. My friend Henry and I watched episodes of The Lone Ranger, and then head for the woods to pretend we were the real thing. It was great fun, but sometimes we got off the beaten paths and into the green leaves of poison ivy beside the trails. By the next morning I would be scratching my ankles and between my toes. If the oil from the leaves got on our face it could swell our face and might require a doctors visit. Most of the time we simply rubbed on pink calamine lotion and kept on playing.

The song above by the Coasters came out in the fifties. With its catchy lines it became a song you could not get out of your head once you heard it. I have always enjoyed hearing the famous hook, “Poison I—vy, Poison I—-vy… Late at night while you’re sleeping Poison Ivy comes creeping around.? I am not sure exactly what the real meaning of the song is since it could be interpreted in a couple of different ways.  Be sure to listen to the clip above, for a taste of fifties music, and see what you think?

Poison Ivy

Barefoot boys running on rabbit trails

Chasing imaginary figures into the woods

Cowboys and Indians running wild

So much fun to run and hide

Pearl handled six-shooters and homemade rifles

All played a part in our virtual reality games

We were Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket

Crouching in the leaves behind a fallen tree.

That green three clustered foliage didn’t worry us

By morning night dreams turned to itchy nightmares.

Late at night while we’re sleeping 

Poison Ivy came a creepin’ around…”

Blisters and red bumps covered our toes

Even had a few bumps on our nose

Mom brought the bottle of Pepto-pink liquid

Calamine lotion spread over it all like jam

Didn’t seem to help too much at the time

It still had to run its itchy course

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Poison Ivy song: Youtube clip from the Coasters

Our prompt from Bjorn today was to write a poem including a poisonous plant in our poem. Come join us at d’Verse~Poetry Pub and see what everyone is doing.

https://dversepoets.com/

Fall in the Woods

Dwight with bird house from Lauralville 001

Growing up playing in the woods all summer was wonderful. We ran over the trails and played Cowboys and Indians, Davey Crockett, and Daniel Boone. We had no video games or smartphones. We spent our days in the outdoors. I hope you will bear with me for reposting this bit of nostalgia. I posted it last year and will probably post it again next year. Perhaps you can picture the changes in our woods as fall came on each year. This is where I grew from a child into a teenager at Masontown, Pennsylvania.

Fall in the Woods at Masontown

I can still remember, like it was yesterday
Fall in the woods at Masontown

Cold weather closed in early
Leaves in the woods
Turned shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown
What was once a lush green woods
Filled with green hollow stemmed weeds
Now becomes blanketed
With a soft silent coating of leaves

The Silver Maple and Butternut next to the house
Dropped their yellow-tan leaves
The quince turned yellow-brown
As the apple trees blended into the scene
With rich deep red leaves
Highlighted by a back drop of color
Pouring from the shallow woods
Extending from our house
To the church cemetery

On the driveway black walnuts still in the hulls
Driven over with car tires
Squishing and shelling
Removing the hard nuts inside
Picking them up, peeling off the excess
While blends of saffron, amber, and walnut stains
Are left on my hands and under my nails

From driveway to furnace room
Down in the basement
The nuts carried to be dried
For cracking with hammer and brick

Out in the field behind the chicken house
Rows of asparagus
Lined the edge of the woods
Bent over like a hundred old men
Kinked and twisted
Dry hollow stems
Seed pods still clinging stubbornly to the tops
Some will weather the snow and wind
Only to be disked up in the spring
To start all over again

Masontown 1972 (2)

Out in the woods,
Paths where our bare feet ran all summer long
Disappeared under layers of leaves
As frost took its toll on the trees
Now I can walk through the woods,
With a borrowed single-shot 12 gauge,
Looking in the pit holes for rabbits,
Flushing out ring-necked pheasants
From the edge of the corn field
Just beyond the back side of the woods

Life was simple then,
Rabbits shot were few and pheasants even fewer
But walking through the woods and field
Was an experience I enjoyed
Just for the sake of being there

The woods remained stark and bare
For the rest of the winter,
But it’s passing and recurring beauty
Left indelible impressions
On my mind for years to come

Sometimes I wish
I could just be there once again

Masontown, PA circa 1949 001

Photos: Dwight L. Roth & Family Album