When Father Shook The Stove

'Twas not so many years ago
Say, twenty-two or three,
When zero weather or below
Held many a thrill for me.

Then in my icy room I slept
A youngster's sweet repose,
And always on my form I kept
My flannel underclothes.

Then I was roused by sudden shock
Though still to sleep I strove,
I knew that it was seven o'clock
When father shook the stove.

I never heard him quit his bed
Or his alarm clock ring;
I never heard his gentle treat,
Or his attempts to sing;

The sun that found my windowpane
On me was wholly lost,
Though many a sunbeam tried in vain
To penetrate the frost.

To human voice I never stirred
But deeper down I dove
Beneath the covers, when I heard
My father shake the stove.

Today it all comes back to me
And I can hear it still;
He seemed to take a special glee
In shaking with a will.

He flung the noisy dampers back
Then rattled steel on steel,
Until the force of his attack
The building seemed to feel.

Though I'd a youngster's heavy eyes
All sleep from them he drove;
It seemed to me the dead must rise
When father shook the stove.

Now radiators thump and pound
And every room is warm,
And modern men new ways have found
To shield us from the storm.

The windowpanes are seldom glossed
The way they used to be;
The pictures left by old Jack Frost
Our children never see.

And now that he has gone to rest
In God's great slumber grove,
I often think those days were best
When father shook the stove.

By Edgar A. Guest


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