Woody the Chicken-Hearted Groundhog

There once was a woodchuck named Woody De Fuzz,
The fuzziest woodchuck that ever there was.
He lived in a hole in the ground just below
A strawberry field of a farmer named Joe.
Now, Woody was happy, contented, and merry:
Each morning he went out and ate a strawberry
And also some grass that was growing nearby,
But not prickly thistles—too painful to try—
And whenever Joe’s doggie would start in to yap,
He’d head down his hole and he’d take a long nap.

So Woody was happy—as happy as pie—
That is, till the flakes were beginning to fly.
They flew and they fell and they fell and they flew,
And the iciest, freeziest winter winds blew.
The snow blew in drifts over mountain and knoll,
And it blew right down Woody De Fuzz’s own hole!
“That does it!” cried Woody, and dug his hole deep
And he snuggled right down, and he went right to sleep,
Intending to sleep right the whole winter through,
Till those icy-cold, wint’ry winds no longer blew.

But somehow, about in the middle I reckoned,
The middle of winter—‘bout Feb'uary second—
Something awakened young Woody De Fuzz,
And he yawned, and he stretched—as most everyone does—
And got up from his bed, and he staggered about
In a kind of a daze, and then…Woody went out!
He went out of his hole to a world full of snow,
Not the strawberry field of that farmer named Joe.
He came out of his hole and he wandered around
In the bright, bright sunshine—and he suddenly found…

He had company! Crowd upon crowd of big people!
Some of 'em tall as a Baptist Church steeple!
And all of ‘em holding recorders and cameras
And all of ‘em saying he’s gorgeous and glamorous
And all of ‘em pushing and shoving and shouting
And all of 'em ruining his mid-winter outing,
And all snapping pictures or asking a question,
So much that he started to get indigestion…
So Woody retreated a hasty retreat
And showed them the soles of his two rear, back feet!

It frightened that woodchuck named Woody De Fuzz,
The frightenedest woodchuck that ever there was.
And he ran down his hole, and he ran down there fast,
To go back to sleep till the winter was past.
But he ran down so fast that he plum left his shadow—
Some oaf must have stepped on it, back in the meadow.
But go back and get it? No way—not a chance!
Not even for all the strawberries in France!
"Besides," Woody said, "I already outgrew it;
If it's shadows they want, well they're quite welcome to it!"

And THAT’S why on Feb'uary second each year
A half-asleep woodchuck is said to appear
To announce to the world whether winter is over
And that all of the fields will be soon filled with clover,
Or if winter is really just only begun
And we’ll have two more months of it ‘fore we are done.
But some people scoff at such things and say, “Pooh—
A woodchuck can’t tell when the winter is through.”
In fact, around these parts, it doesn’t apply:
Cuz here winter stays till the Fourth of July!

                                —The Sleepy Groundhog

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