James Whitcomb Riley

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

The Lugubrious Whing-Whang - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

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?--
Crouching low by the winding creeks
And holding his breath for weeks and weeks!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Aroint him the wraithest of wraithly things!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
'Tis a fair Whing-Whangess, with phosphor rings
And bridal-jewels of fangs and stings;
And she sits and as sadly and softly sings
As the mildewed whir of her own dead wings,--
Tickle me, Dear,
Tickle me here,
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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