3060 Slices
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Little Orphant Annie

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub

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




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:—

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Love and the Looking-Glass World, 13 February 1966 (WUL, 4) 864

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

How can I keep

My walled garden yet

Always rise up

At another’s regret?

Ruthlessness? No.

Patience? Perhaps.

I am stunned by what I know,

Caught in my own traps.

To My Father

I have not seen you now for two whole years

And am afraid to, though I would be glad

If something in your character had changed

So that we had

Ways we could meet without distress or fears.

I know that I am different. Maybe

How I have changed would make our meeting come

Smoothly, like loosening ropes which slide and sink

And then are dumb.

And yet I dread the meeting. Why have we

These two, father and child, grown far apart?

I know myself much less than once I did

When I thought everything was to be known.

O you have gone

And taken part of all I thought I hid,

And made a child again and bruised its heart.

Love and the Looking-Glass World

That is the past and I can watch it go

Into a looking-glass, a backward world.

And yet I wish that world would lurch and slow

And show my love untouched, nor yet unfurled.

Alice, the Queen could see both ways at once:

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LXXVI (‘Those souls for whom you died were sad as well’)

Elizabeth Jennings Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


I wish, God, for some end I do not will.

Between the fire and heart a veil of ice

Puts out the fire. My pen will not move well,

So that the sheet on which I’m working lies.

I pay you mere lip-service, then I grieve;

Love does not reach my heart, I do not know

How to admit that grace which would relieve

My state and crush the arrogance I show.

Oh tear away that veil, God, break that wall

Which with its strength refuses to let in

The sun whose light has vanished from the world.

Send down the promised light to bless and hold

Your lovely bride. So may I seek for all

I need in you, both end there and begin.


Those souls for whom you died were sad as well

As happy that you chose death for their sake.

The blood you shed had locked the doors of Hell,

And opened Heaven for all mankind to take.

Happy they were because you had redeemed

Man from his first mistake and final loss.

But they were sad such suffering had claimed

Your flesh which died for all men on the cross.

Heaven gave a sign that she had seen it all;

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Lugubrious Whing-Whang, The

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub

THE rhyme o’ The Raggedy Man’s ’at’s best

Is Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs,—

’Cause that-un’s the strangest of all o’ the rest,

An’ the worst to learn, an’ the last one guessed,

An’ the funniest one, an’ the foolishest.—

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

I don’t know what in the world it means—

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!—

An’ nen when I tell him I don’t, he leans

Like he was a-grindin’ on some machines

An’ says: Ef I don’t, w’y, I don’t know beans!

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!—

Out on the margin of Moonshine Land,

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Out where the Whing-Whang loves to stand,

Writing his name with his tail in the sand,

And swiping it out with his oogerish hand;

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Is it the gibber of Gungs or Keeks?

Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Or what is the sound that the Whing-Whang seeks?—

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Joshua Kryah University Press of Colorado ePub

Or we were poor and we did not know we were.

Or we were not poor and we thought we were.

Or we knew we were not poor.

Or just enough we did not deny being poor.

Or others told us we were poor and we believed we were.

Or this is what we told ourselves when we disliked others.

Or it was good to be poor among those who were not poor.

Or we had friends who were poor but did not know they were.

Or the poor were always among us.

Or we wanted nothing to do with the poor even if we were poor.

Or someone somewhere in our family had been poor.

Or it was a story we learned from our older brother who told us we were poor.

Or we told ourselves “at least we’re not poor.”

Or we made up things to make our lives a little less poor.

Always blood and those who give of it so freely.

The hemophiliac, the martyr.

The meatpacking plant at the end of the street.

Piles of ice dumped out back, soaked with the blood of deer, their hind legs broken, stabbed through, hung to drain.

And the children, always the children.

Gathering the ice into small handfuls, licking it as one would a snow cone.

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