Volume 33, Number 1, Fall 1993
A little bad is mixed with good
In every land, however blessed
Mosquitoes, South, and chiggers East,
With countless fleas for people West;
But Satan gave the Ozark land
A voracious hexipede
Withappetite that always craves
Some living tissue for its feed.
They come in most prolific clans,
More silent than the midnight air,
With carving tools right keenly ground
And evrything in good repair.
Then stealing on defenseless man.
More stealthy than an army spy
They choose their place with wondrous skill
Their keen curved jaws to deffly ply.
Thedevil surely gave them power
To numb their chosen feeding spot
With something acting like cocaine
Until their victim feels them not
Before their poisoned jaws have carved
A painful, bleeding, swelling sore,
Withhalf their bodies buried deep
Beneath the flesh in bloody gore.
And when you try to pull them out,
Unless possessed of wondrous grip,
From off his glossy polished back
Your fingers will most surely slip;
But if you get sufficient hold
To fetch it with a sudden star,
It not infrequently occurs
The Wood Ticks head and body part.
Thenext to do and that at once,
Is fix for work with iron will.
And dig out those mandible
With something of a surgeons skill.
Of course, it hurts, but what of that?
Its only just one torture more
Until the thousands that will come,
Or have already been before.
Those might herds of baby ticks
Are sources, too, of endless pain,
And surely quite enough to drive
The nervous people clear insane
The pesky crawling, biting things
Can match the plagues of Egypts name
And they alone with nothing else,
Would bring the Ozark region fame.
What are those little western fleas,
That jump away in awful fright,
Compared with the Missouri ticks
That carve our flesh with all their might
Those malarious mosquitoes
Can be driven with a smudge
But no amount of smoke or drugs
Will make the noxious wood tick budge.
The little microscopic chigger
It scarcely worth our passing heed
As set against the human foe,
The mammoth mountain hexipede,
Which carves the flesh unto the bone
Nor lets one living thing alone,
But moves at Satans stern command
To curse our lovely Ozark land.
Editors note: 0. G. Harmon of Mountain Grove, Mo., wrote a number of verses that he titled Ozark Ballads. In the early twentieth century selected writings about the Ozark Region, such as Shepherd of the Hills, were allowed in the required curriculum of some public schools.
In Spring 1923, Mr. Harmon tried to get approval for his ballads by sending copies to several school superintendents in southern Missouri and writing to those who would take his cause to the state department of public education in Jefferson City. Do any of our readers know whether or not Mr. Harmon was successful? Do you know of any regional work that was required in the public schools? Please write the Editor.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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