poet Henry Cuyler Bunner

Henry Cuyler Bunner

One, Two, Three!

It was an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy that was half-past three;
And the way that they played together
Was beautiful to see.

She couldn't go running or jumping,
And the boy, no more could he;
For he was a thin litte fellow,
With a thin little twisted knee.

They sat in the yellow sunlight,
Out under the maple tree;
And the game that they played I'll tell you,
Just as it was told to me.

It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing,
Though you've never have known it to be--
With an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy with a twisted knee.

The boy would bend his face down
On his one little sound right knee,
And he'd guess where she was hiding,
In guesses One, Two, Three!

'You are in the china-closet!'
He would cry, and laugh with glee--
It wasn't the china closet,
But he still had Two and Three.

'You are up in papa's big bedroom,
In the chest with the queer old key!'
And she said: 'You are warm and warmer;
But you're not quite right,' said she.

'It can't be the little cupboard
Where mamma's things used to be--
So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!'
And he found her with his Three.

Then she covered her face with her fingers,
That were wrinkled and white and wee,
And she guessed where the boy was hiding,
With a One and a Two and a Three.

And they never had stirred from their places,
Right under the maple tree--
This old, old, old, old lady
And the boy with the lame little knee--
This dear, dear, dear old lady,
And the boy who was half-past three.

Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 4, 2010

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Comments about One, Two, Three! by Henry Cuyler Bunner

  • J. OrlandoJ. Orlando (1/8/2015 2:45:00 PM)

    I love the poem, but not the audio.

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  • Patricia Carmichael (12/7/2012 8:17:00 PM)

    Although I can no longer recite all of this poem by memory, I shall never forget it's impact on my life. You see I am 63 yrs old now, but as a student of the segregated south of the 60's, I recited this poem at numerous fine arts festivals held among the colored schools in the northwestern section of my state. I received excellent and superior ratings each time I recited it. Yet at the end of the school year fine arts program at my own elementary school, I was a fifth grader, as I got on stage to recite it for my local school audience, my baby sister hollered out my name and I completely forgot it! Boy did I have egg on my face, imaginary eggs that my classmates threw at me. But that's all okay now. I had great teachers who taught me to enunicate clearly and distinctly and use the King's English to my advantage when it really counted.

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