Little Orphant Annie

- 1849-1916

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!

Onc’t they was a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,—
So 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 wasn’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 was 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’ onc’t, when they was “company,” an’ ole folks was 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 was 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 parents, an’ yer teachers 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!

Thanksgiving

Let us be thankful—not only because
   Since last our universal thanks were told
We have grown greater in the world’s applause,
   And fortune’s newer smiles surpass the old—

But thankful for all things that come as alms
   From out the open hand of Providence:—
The winter clouds and storms—the summer calms—
   The sleepless dread—the drowse of indolence.

Let us be thankful—thankful for the prayers
   Whose gracious answers were long, long delayed,
That they might fall upon us unawares,
   And bless us, as in greater need we prayed.

Let us be thankful for the loyal hand
   That love held out in welcome to our own,
When love and only love could understand
   The need of touches we had never known.

Let us be thankful for the longing eyes
   That gave their secret to us as they wept,
Yet in return found, with a sweet surprise,
   Love’s touch upon their lids, and, smiling, slept.

And let us, too, be thankful that the tears
   Of sorrow have not all been drained away,
That through them still, for all the coming years,
   We may look on the dead face of To-day.

A Barefoot Boy

A barefoot boy! I mark him at his play—
For May is here once more, and so is he,—
His dusty trousers, rolled half to the knee,
And his bare ankles grimy, too, as they:
Cross-hatchings of the nettle, in array
Of feverish stripes, hint vividly to me
Of woody pathways winding endlessly
Along the creek, where even yesterday
He plunged his shrinking body—gasped and shook—
Yet called the water “warm,” with never lack
Of joy. And so, half enviously I look
Upon this graceless barefoot and his track,—
His toe stubbed—ay, his big toe-nail knocked back
Like unto the clasp of an old pocketbook.

Wet-weather Talk

It hain’t no use to grumble and complane;
It’s jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.—
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
W’y rain’s my choice.

Men ginerly, to all intents—
Although theyre apt to grumble some—
Puts most theyr trust in Providence,
And takes things as they come—
That is, the commonality
Of men that’s lived as long as me
Has watched the world enugh to learn
They’re not the boss of this concern.

With some, of course, it’s different—
Ive saw young men that knowed it all,
And didn’t like the way things went
On this terrestchul ball;—
But all the same, the rain, some way,
Rained jest as hard on picnic day;
Er, when they railly wanted it,
It mayby wouldn’t rain a bit!

In this existunce, dry and wet
Will overtake the best of men—
Some little skift o’ clouds’ll shet
The sun off now and then.—
And mayby, whilse youre wundern who
You’ve fool-like lent your umbrell’ to,
And want it—out’ll pop the sun,
And you’ll be glad you hain’t got none!

It aggervates the farmers, too—
They’s too much wet, er too much sun,
Er work, er waitin’ round to do
Before the plowin’ s done:
And mayby, like as not, the wheat,
Jest as it’s lookin hard to beat,
Will ketch the storm—and jest about
The time the corns a-jintin’ out.

These-here cy-clones a-foolin’ round—
And back’ard crops!—and wind and rain!—
And yit the corn that’s wallerd down
May elbow up again!—
They hain’t no sense, as I can see,
Fer mortuls, sech as us, to be
A-faultin’ Natchurs wise intents,
And lockin’ horns with Providence!

It hain’t no use to grumble and complane;
It’s jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.—
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
W’y, rain’ my choice.