Ah’m sick, doctor-man, Ah’m sick!
Gi’ me some’n to he’p me quick.
Don’t— Ah’ll die!
Tried mighty hard fo’ to cure mahse’f;
Tried all dem t’ings on de pantry she’f;
Couldn’t fin’ not’in’ a-tall would do.
An’ so Ah sent fo’ you,
“Wha’d Ah take? “Well, le’ me see:
Firs’—horhound drops an’ catnip tea;
Den rock candy soaked in rum,
An’ a good sized chunk o’ camphor gum;
Next Ah tried was castor oil.
An’ snakeroot tea brought to a boil;
Sassafras tea fo’ to clean mah blood;
But none o’ dem t’ings didn’ do no good.
Den when home remedies seem to shirk,
Dem pantry bottles was put to work:
Blue-mass, laud-num, liver pills,
“Sixty-six, fo’ fever an’ chills,”
Ready Relief, an’ A. B. C.,
An’ half a bottle of X. Y. Z.
An’ sev’al mo’ Ah don’t recall,
Dey nevah done no good at all.
Mah appetite begun to fail;
Ah fo’ced some clabber, about a pail,
Fo’ mah ol’ gran’ma always said
When yo’ can’t eat you’re almost dead.
So Ah got scared an’ sent for you.—
Now, doctor, see what you c’n do.
Ah’m sick, doctor-man. Gawd knows Ah’m sick!
Gi’ me some’n to he’p me quick,
From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922), edited by James Weldon Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.