Saturday, July 25, 2015

Long Ago and Far Away

For those of you who visit often, you know I love poems, simple poems that always rhyme.  This love goes back to my childhood where I was introduced to poetry in elementary school.  When I got to Junior High I took a speech class and enjoyed every minute of it, well, almost every minute.

The teacher of this class also wanted her students to learn public speaking.  That I didn't like.  She would have us memorize poems or speeches and have us recite them at a school assembly, in front of the entire student body.  It counted as a big part of our grade.

My first time at the podium my heart was fluttering, my knees were shaking, and I didn't think I would even be able to speak.  But I did speak and I liked it!  The first poem I recited was Little Orphan Annie, I can still see that young girl walking onto the stage...long ago and far away.

Little Orphan Annie
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
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
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
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

I find it hard to believe that I memorized the entire poem and was able to recite it from memory.  Certainly could not accomplish that today!
Precious Memories!

Another poem I learned as a little girl was My Shadow.  After all these years I still remember the first verse.  As I was reading it this afternoon all the other verses came back to me.   I was a little girl once again, reciting a poem for my Momma.
My Shadow
By: Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Until Next Time


  1. Wow....I don't see how in the world you memorized that long poem....let alone get up in front of your entire school and recite it. Public speaking always terrified me. I love sweet memories....even those of others! HOPE you have an awesome weekend!

  2. Wow, you memorized all that? This past semester we had to memorize a poem and I choose, I'm Nobody, Who are You? By Emily Dickinson. This coming semester I have to take Public Speaking, I will keep you updated on that venture, giggling.

    Thank you for posting your memories, it is always a treat to get to know bloggers better. Have a beautiful Saturday, friend.

  3. I wonder if kids today have to memorize anything? We had so many things to learn by rote back in the day. I've never heard either of those poems, but thoroughly enjoyed them today! Thanks for sharing the memories!

  4. That was quite a feat to memorize that long poem. And to recite it.... Wow... I would have been too tongue tied. I would have benefited from a public speaking course cause I have always shied away from speaking in public.

  5. I love poems too, especially garden poems. If you memorized that that's pretty good! I don't think I could.


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