Jest 'Fore Christmas Poem by Eugene Field

Jest 'Fore Christmas

Rating: 2.9

Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl - ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls, an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake -
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cow-boys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' 'tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes, an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
An' don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, an' "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

Susan Williams 20 December 2015

That was a fun read! It sparked memories even though I wasn't a boy- girls can be tom boys, you know, I have never read him before and look forward to more like this.

25 3 Reply
Kim Barney 20 December 2015

Have enjoyed this poem since I was a child. Thanks, Poem Hunter, for including it here today.

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Sue Collins 22 December 2005

I find the most joy in the poetry that my father read/recited to me as a child. And this was one of them, along with 'The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, ' The Song of Hiawatha, ' and many others Poetry gives me the comfort of returning to the carefree days of my childhood, have grown up when childhood was really carefree in the 50's.

7 2 Reply
Carol Carter 29 November 2014

My grandmother, who's been gone almost 40 years, used to recite this to us when we were children. Brings back some wonderful momories

6 3 Reply
Jay Porter 20 December 2015

I really enjoyed this poem. It reminds me of myself before Christmas

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Abbie 18 December 2020

My parents used to read this to us every Christmas. It was in our set of Childcraft books. it became a tradition in our family. Sure brings back wonderful memories.

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Bill Cuff 02 August 2020

When I was in first grade, my mother made me memorize this poem and present it on stage at a Christmas program in front of the whole school, grades K through 12.

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Spock The Vegan 19 December 2019

This was read to me in grade school. I hadn't though about it for years, but I like it.

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chuck 11 June 2019

read this in grade school...sometime between 1956 and 1959. I memorized the 'grandma/oldest brother Dan/Ceylon stanza and would intone it, time to time, over 60 years. THEN, Walter Slezak speaks the 'prospect pleases. man is vile' part in Born to Kill..a 1947 film noir.

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Doh Hampa 19 December 2018

When I was teaching I would read this poem 3 weeks before Christmas and at least once a week. Used this as a lesson on progression of some of our language and the use of idioms. What great memories.

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Eugene Field

Eugene Field

St Louis / Missouri / United States
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