James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Prior To Miss Belle's Appearance - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

What makes you come HERE fer, Mister,
So much to our house?--SAY?
Come to see our big sister!--
An' Charley he says 'at you kissed her
An' he ketched you, th'uther day!--
Didn' you, Charley?--But we p'omised Belle
An' crossed our heart to never to tell--
'Cause SHE gived us some o' them-er
Chawk'lut-drops 'at you bringed to her!

Charley he's my little b'uther--
An' we has a-mostest fun,
Don't we, Charley?--Our Muther,
Whenever we whips one anuther,
Tries to whip US--an' we RUN--
Don't we, Charley?--An' nen, bime-by,
Nen she gives us cake--an' pie--
Don't she, Charley?--when we come in
An' pomise never to do it ag'in!

HE'S named Charley.--I'm WILLIE--
An' I'm got the purtiest name!
But Uncle Bob HE calls me 'Billy'--
Don't he, Charley?--'N' our filly
We named 'Billy,' the same
Ist like me! An' our Ma said
'At 'Bob puts foolishnuss into our head!'--
Didn' she, Charley?--An' SHE don't know
Much about BOYS!--'Cause Bob said so!

Baby's a funniest feller!
Nain't no hair on his head--
IS they, Charley?--It's meller
Wite up there! An' ef Belle er
Us ask wuz WE that way, Ma said,--
'Yes; an' yer PA'S head wuz soft as that,
An' it's that way yet!'--An' Pa grabs his hat
An' says, 'Yes, childern, she's right about Pa--
'Cause that's the reason he married yer Ma!'

An' our Ma says 'at 'Belle couldn'
Ketch nothin' at all but ist 'BOWS!'--
An' PA says 'at 'you're soft as puddun!'--
An' UNCLE BOB says 'you're a good-un--
'Cause he can tell by yer nose!'-
Didn' he, Charley?--An' when Belle'll play
In the poller on th' pianer, some day,
Bob makes up funny songs about you,
Till she gits mad-like he wants her to!

Our sister FANNY she's 'LEVEN
Years old! 'At's mucher 'an _I_--
Ain't it, Charley? . . . I'm seven!--
But our sister Fanny's in HEAVEN!
Nere's where you go ef you die!--
Don't you, Charley?--Nen you has WINGS--
Don't you, Charley?--An' nen you can FLY--
Ist fly-an' EVER'thing! . . . I Wisht I'D die!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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