A Halloween Poem

We had a great time at Haunted Homestead and our visitors appreciated our story tellers, Holly Barrick and Gary Howe, for getting them into the Halloween spirit. Many a fine yarn was spun that night and we thought we would share with you one of our favorite Halloween poems, "Little Orphant Annie". This poem was written by Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley in 1885. The first stanza introduces us to Annie, who then tells of children that have been taken by goblins for misbehaving. The moral of the poem, obey your parents. The poem reads as follows: Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,

An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,

An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,

An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;

An’ all us other childern, when the supper things is done,

We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun

A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,

An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you

Ef you

Don’t

Watch

Out!

Onc’t they was a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,--

So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,

His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,

An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wasn’t there at all!

An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,

An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’wheres, I guess;

But all they ever found was thist his pants an’ roundabout--

An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you

Ef you

Don’t

Watch

Out!

An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,

An’ make fun of ever’one, an’ all her blood an’ kin;

An’ onc’t, when they was “company," an’ ole folks was there,

She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!

An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,

They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,

An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!

An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you

Ef you

Don’t

Watch

Out!

An’ little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,

An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!

An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,

An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--

You better mind yer parents, an’ yer teachers fond an’ dear,

An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,

An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,

Er the Gobble-uns’ll git you

Ef you

Don’t

Watch

Out!

Storyteller Bill Kerr does a great rendition of this poem. See it by following this link:

Bill Kerr: Little Orphant Annie