Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poem for Bill West's poetry "collection"

This is my entry into Bill West’s contest. Whenever I think about Lide’s childhood after her mother’s death, I think of this poem. Lide DID have family when she and her siblings returned to Wabash County, but she and her siblings moved from house to house (often separately); they seemed to feel a need to contribute to the family work while living with each family. (I believe that in the 1860s and 1870s children on farms and in the homes in farm support towns like North Manchester all did chores, but I sense that “earning her place” was important to Lide.)

So here is a poem from the appropriately named “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was 'company,' an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

3 comments:

  1. Seems an appropriate selection for the season, too, Sue. Really enjoyed this. First time for me. Thanks for sharing it.

    Judy

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  2. Sue,
    Besides having to learn it in school, I can remember my Mom (whose name was Anne,btw)teasing us as kids with "The goblins will get you if you don't watch out!".

    Thanks for submitting this and bringing back memories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My mother was a Hoosier. I grew up with Riley's poems. "Little Orphan Annie" and "The Raggedy Man" were my favorites. Homely, corny...but they make great memories for kids.

    ReplyDelete