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This is fascinating, though I don't have any big attachment to the poem. I highly recommend that everyone go to that link in the last paragraph and listen to the reading. One thing that immediately struck me about it is that it sounds like the country people in old movies and tv shows.

Also fascinating: as a child I read the Little Orphan Annie comic strip and always vaguely wondered about the backstory. Well, here it is:


That is pretty wonderful in how it tells you so much in such a short space of words. I suppose that is what good poetry does.

So strange. Just yesterday I was thinking about Eugene McCarthy and how when he lost the Indiana primary against Robert Kennedy in 1968, he gracelessly put down James Whitcomb Riley, and how that was the finishing touch that made me decide for Kennedy back then.

I grew up with this -- what happy memories -- "An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
Ef you
Had a wonderful illustrated James Whitcomb Riley's Poems of Childhood for the longest time - just now looked and can't find it! Agh! Thanks for this!

I wish I could say that I loved poetry as a child, but I didn't, really. I do remember reading this poem, probably in a school textbook.

Wow, Marianne, that's startling. What a dumb thing for McCarthy to have done.

I actually worked for McCarthy, as in I called people on the phone and asked them to vote for him. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing.



My brother and I had a big book of children's verse. Mainly it was ballads and 'narrative poems.' I liked it a lot. In a sense they were 'songs' - in the sense that the Iliad is a song :) I can remember leafing through it. It was illustrated. I think my grandmother sent it from England, but I'm not sure of that. I'm not sure if I liked the 'poetry' of it, or if I liked the 'stories in verse' side. I think it was probably closer to the latter, but I don't know.

I like the poetry part, but I really like poems with stories like The Highwayman, and The Cremation of Sam McGee.


Oh dear.


I dont remember any spooky poems in the book we had.

During the last war, there was a radio program that broadcast ghost stories on the night my grandparents went out - I think to Bingo, but it was their weekly night out whatever it was. My father used to sit in the blacked out house listening to ghost stories with, he said, his hair standing on end.

He was supposed to be in bed or at least in his room. After theey left he crept downstaurs to turn on the radio and listen to the ghost program. Some children do love scarey stories. Its anadult recognition that the world itself is frightenibg

Once when our electricity was out for 6 days, I went to the library and got cassette tapes of War of the Worlds, and we listened to them at night in the dark. It was fun.

We never watched scary things when we were kids, but I read them. I had a book of stories by Alfred Hitchcock with wonderful illustrations. And then I read horrid comics when I could find them in the paper drive truck.


I had and still have a book of ghost stories that was given to me for Christmas when I was 12. I know that for sure because there's an inscription in the book. I really liked it although some of the stories were seriously scary, especially this one. I'm a little shocked to learn that it first appeared in the Christmas issue of a magazine.

I listened to that recording, Maclin. Very interesting

March 22 I posted that I had lost the book, Poems of Childhood, originally copyrighted 1887 - this edition 1940. I found it today while cleaning up my younger daughter's bookshelves. I am indebted to Janet and this blog for continuing to make me notice the world around me!

[From Mac: here's a photo Mary wanted to post: Download Poems of Childhood - Riley.JPG (129.2K)]

See comment just above for a photo added to it. This comment is only to get a notice at the top of the Recent Comments list.

Thank you!

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