Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

Used-Up Joe - Poem by Henry Clay Work

I'm de only one left ob de Colony niggers;
How things do meander away!
When dey count my yeahs dey break down on de figgers,--
Fer things will meander away.
I was heah when Columbus discubbered Ohio;
I'm dyin' wid hunger today.
Lock me up in a pantry day's filled wid mince-pie--
Oh! how things would meander away.

Brudder Gabriel, blow! I am ready to go;
I am tired ob dis long delay.
You've de wicked to warn; better look for yer horn,--
Fer things will meander away.

I's as poor as de turkey dat Job was its owner;
How things do meander away!
I'm as sick as de whale when he landed up Jonar,--
Fer things will meander away.
I'm in debt for my day before yesterday's dinner,
An' can't find de cash fer to pay:
In dat Savin's Band game some one else was de winner,--
Fer things will meander away.

I'm a gnarly ole tree, wid a hurricane fightin';
How things do meander away!
All de limbs are torn off, an' de leabes gone akittin',--
Fer things will meander away.
Send me home for repairs when de hurricane ceases;
Remember de words dat I say!
Tie me up in a bag, an' don't stop for de pieces,--
Fer things will meander away.

Had my right eye knocked out by a word dat I hollered;
How things do meander away!
Called a white man a fool, an' an axerdent follered,--
Fer things will meander away.
Den a railroad collusion run ober some cattle,
An' one ob my limbs went astray;
An' anudder I left on de cornfield ob battle,--
Fer things will meander away.

Nitro-glycerum cans are not safe to unsodder;
How things do meander away!
An' wid circular saws 'tisn't wise fer to bodder,--
Fer things will meander away.
Dis ere top-lock was lifted by red Injun debils;
'Twas den de black wool become gray;
An' my last wooder leg was shot off by de rebels,--
For things will meander away.

Nicodemus, my son-in-law, long ago started;
How things do meander away!
An' dey say, from de gum-tree his bones hab departed,--
Fer things will meander away.
He will nebber come back, let me tell ye--no, nebber!
To pick up his burden of clay:
Gib a mud-turtle wings an' a free pass forebber,--
Ob course he'll meander away.


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Read poems about / on: tree, sick, son, today, remember, red, home, warning, running



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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