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James Whitcomb Riley

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

The Raggedy Man


1 O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
2 An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
3 He comes to our house every day,
4 An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
5 An' he opens the shed -- an' we all ist laugh
6 When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
7 An' nen -- ef our hired girl says he can --
8 He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. --
9 Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
10 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

11 W'y, The Raggedy Man -- he's ist so good,
12 He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;
13 An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
14 An' does most things 'at boys can't do. --
15 He clumbed clean up in our big tree
16 An' shooked a' apple down fer me --
17 An' 'nother 'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann --
18 An' 'nother 'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man. --
19 Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
20 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

21 An' The Raggedy Man one time say he
22 Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,
23 An' et 'em -- all ist roast' an' hot! --
24 An' it's so, too! -- 'cause a corn-crib got
25 Afire one time an' all burn' down
26 On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town --
27 On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes -- an' the hired han'
28 'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man! --
29 Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?
30 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

31 The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind
32 He'll be our "horsey," an' "haw" an' mind
33 Ever'thing 'at you make him do --
34 An' won't run off -- 'less you want him to!
35 I drived him wunst way down our lane
36 An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,
37 An' ist rared up an' squealed and run
38 Purt' nigh away! -- an' it's all in fun!
39 Nen he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can ...
40 Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!
41 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

42 An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
43 An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
44 Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
45 An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
46 An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
47 He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
48 'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
49 Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!
50 Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
51 Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
52 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

53 An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,
54 An' pigs ist root' thue the garden-gate,
55 He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,
56 "Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"
57 An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run
58 When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun
59 An' go "Bang! -- Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'
60 An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!
61 He's an old Bear-shooter Raggedy Man!
62 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

63 An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on
64 We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone
65 To git more money, an' lef' us there --
66 And Robbers is ist thick ever'where;
67 An' nen -- ef we all won't cry, fer shore --
68 The Raggedy Man he'll come and "'splore
69 The Castul-halls," an' steal the "gold" --
70 An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold
71 An' pack us off to his old "Cave"! -- An'
72 Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man! --
73 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

74 The Raggedy Man -- one time, when he
75 Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
76 Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
77 Air you go' to keep a fine store like his --
78 An' be a rich merchunt -- an' wear fine clothes? --
79 Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
80 An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
81 An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man! --
82 I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
83 Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Carolyn Binkley (6/3/2005 1:14:00 PM)

    James Whitcomb Riley has been my favorite poet since I was a child of two when my older sister would read to me from our book of children's poems. There were several poets represented in the book, but Mr. Riley's are the poems that touched my heart the most and have remained there for more than 50 years. They are poems that can touch the hearts are everyone, no matter their gender, age, or intelect. They are profoundly deep and rich in everything that honestly matters and yet they are expressed without the complexity of hidden messages found in other poetry. (Report) Reply

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