Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Little Orphan Annie


When I was about 4 years old our single mother and her four charges made a move to help the struggling brood survive the harsh reality that was our life. We moved in with another single mom and her six children. As you can imagine, ten children, two moms and eventually a young college student to help out, this house full of 13 became frenetic with energy!

A schedule was instituted, chores assigned and rules posted! My mother was nothing if not efficient and she found her ways to motivate. One of which was the following poem. This poem scared the beejeebees out of me. I remembered it by heart for many years, and for anyone interested, no, I never recited this poem to my own children.

Now, for a good scare, during this spooky time, I offer the following: (enjoy!)

Little Orphan 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-listenin' 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' 'for 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' cherish 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!


-James Whitcomb Riley, born Oct. 7, 1849
Happy Halloween!

add to sk*rt

7 comments:

Kate said...

Fantastic pome. Loved it! (I'm a good girl, and never do nothing disrespectful!)

chronicler said...

yeah, it was all about the enhancement of fear. Never could quite figure her out.

Jana B said...

Hahaha that is SO awesome!!! I think my Grandpa may have told that one to me...

Cody said...

I don't think I've heard that one. My parents didn't tell us many poems growing up... all I can think of is the one about the little girl with a a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. Or whatever.

s'mee said...

Kate, yeah...it used to scare me half to death!

Jana, That's a cool grampa!

Cody, We did a lot of Shel Silverstine when the kids were little. Now those poems were great!

Sis, yup. lol

lisa's chaos said...

What a nice eerie photo

s'mee said...

Lisa, hehe, it's actually just a wispy branch that is out of focus! I took the photo at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. So I guess the spookies were there someplace!