Pennsylvania Dutch Poems by William J. Meter

Our Talk
Our talk ain't so for fanciness,
But plain, it makes just right.
It ain't so good dressed up in print,
But from the heart it comes out bright.

It gets around to all the things
We know and have to say,
It sticks to us like boowalice,
It's as rich as good red clay.

When people listen once they think
We don't know English noon,
But at the County Fair you see
The prize our Melly won.
You can't redd up the world and make
All people talk the same.
The Pennsylvania Deitsch is ourn,
And yourn is what you name.

Du konnst net mocha, sie geh net gleih,
Olla bleiwa so, gel net?
Die gaul geh zu die scheira hin,
Und ich zu Deitsch, you bet.


When the leaves is all on the mountain
And the roads is glutzy with ice,
The team don't dopple along the way
For I'm hungry for something nice.

My hands get doppich, I hurry so,
To get them unhitched and fed,
And I go for the house where I can smell
Hot dough of fresh baked bread.

But it isn't the bread that waits for me
But something better was kep',
There's sweets and sours and pies and all,
But the best is the schnitz and nep.

I eat myself done and get all full,
And I feel like in Heaven then,
For schnitz and nep the way Mom makes
Gives all that's good for us men.


When the maple gets its red leaves onc't,
And the gicklyfees ain't sweet no more;
When the sneaky cold kills all the fields,
You'll be my sweetheart, ain't just like before?

Remember when we blowed the dandelions
In Adams' field, to see the kids we'd get?
Ain't the field was gray with dandelions
And you kissed me and said my mouth was wet?

I love you so…and we can get a house
And you can fix it nice with paint.
And when the stars is out we'll fell so fine;
But when the stars is all, you'll love me, ain't?

(Gicklyfees is Dutch for wild honeysuckle)

Schnitz and Knepp by H. Luther Frees

I am a man well up in years with simple
tastes and few,
But I would like to eat again a dish my
boyhood knew.
A rare old dish that Mother made that filled
us all with pep,
This generation knows it not-we called it
Schnitz and Knepp.
I patronize all restaurants where grub is
kept for sale,
But my search up to the present has been
Without avail,
They say they never heard of it, and I
vainly wonder why,
For that glorious concoction was better far
than pie.
Dried apple snits, a slab of ham and
mammoth balls of dough
Were the appetizing units that filled us with
a glow,
When mother placed the smoking dish upon
the dinner table,
And we partook of its delight as long as we
were able.
My longing for that boyhood dish I simply
will not shelf;
If I cannot find it anywhere, I'll make the
thing myself.


"s hot grad so grose fisch im se as noch raus gfange sin waere.
There are just as good fish in the sea as ever were caught.

Hund as gautze beisse net.
A barking dog seldom bites.

'R faercht sichfaer seim egne schatte.
He's afraid of his own shadow.

D'r schaffmann is sei lu waert.
The laborer is worthy of his hire.

D'r alt bull blaerrt faert bis in di ewichkeit.
The old bull bellows on forever.

Wammer fiucht iberm fische fangt mer nix.
If you swear while fishing, you will not catch any fish.

Der erscht schuss wu mer aus re neie flint schist macht nix dod.
The first shot from a new gun will not kill.

Schlecht gfare is besser as gut gelofe.
A bad ride is better than walking.