Little Orphan Annie

By Laurie Epps

I just wanted to write a formal apology to my readers for not having my poetry blog up the past two weeks. My youngest has had an ear infection since early March, and she's not responding to antibiotics. The only action left for the doctor's is to place tubes in her ears surgically. I'm hoping that they will be able to do this after I graduate college in two weeks.

To the rescue, is my guest blogger, Kenneth Alan O'Shaunnessey, who will write a Thoughtful Thursday column for me next week while I'm in the midst of finals. Thank you for understanding, and please pray for Chloe.

As many of you know, I've loved poetry for a very long time. I received the poetry book at your right when I was just seven years old. Somehow, the day the crying picture was taken (above) my daughter discovered the book. Much to my delight, it seems to calm down some of the screaming.

The next day, and lots of doses of medicine later, Chloe asked me to read her the poems of my youth. Slowly, the stories that went along with the memories of the poems started to emerge too. Now every night before bed, she clammers for my old favorite book of poetry and we read it together. I think I may have just left my legacy  as a poetry lover to my little one.


My favorite poem isn't a very famous one, it takes on a definite cadence when read, and it's got the classic feel of old Southern literature. Chloe loved it too, and said she likes the way my voice changes when I read it. I memorized this poem as an assignment in my fourth grade class, and then recited it. I think I may have secured my spot as teacher's pet after that. So get ready for a fun, yet creepy little poem from my childhood. Enjoy!


Little Orphan Annie
by James Whitcomb Riley

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!

To increase your understanding, I've found a little video with the poem, and he explains some of the words that aren't so common anymore. Here's a slice of Americana.





Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.



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