Two Poem Recitations
by Julia Waldo

Once There Was a Pretty Chicken

Once there was a pretty chicken,
but his friends were very few,
for he thought that there was nothing
in the world but what he knew.

So he always in the farmyard
had a very forward way
telling hens and geese and turkeys
what they ought to do and say.

"Mrs. Goose," he said, "I wonder
that your goslings you would let
go out paddling in the water.
It will kill them to get wet."

"Oh, I wish, my old Aunt Darking,"
he began to her one day,
that you wouldn't sit all summer
in your nest upon the hay.

"Won't you come out to the meadow,
where the grass with seeds is filled?"
"If I should," said Mrs. Darking,
"then my eggs would all get chilled."

"No, they won't," replied the chicken,
"and no matter if they do.
Eggs are really good for nothing.
What's an egg to me or you?"

"What's an egg?" said Mrs. Darking.
"Can it be you do not know?
You yourself were in an eggshell
just one little month ago.

"And if kind wings had not warmed you,
you would not be out today
telling hens and geese and turkeys
what they ought to do and say.

"To be very wise and show it
is a pleasant thing, no doubt;
but when young folks talk to old folks,
they should know what they're about."

Rastus' Sunday Pants

Rastus Johnson, Saturday night, bought a pair of pants --
took them home with pride to show his mammy, cousins, aunts.
But when Rastus tried 'em on, words grew strong and stronger.
The pants hung down below his shoes a half a yard, or longer.

He asked his folks to shorten them, but they answered, "No."
All too busy, so, of course, he couldn't to meeting go.
He went to bed, downcast and sad. No soul e'er felt forlorner.
He grabbed his Sunday meeting pants and fired 'em in the corner.

In the night his mammy woke and pitied Rastus so.
"If them pants ain't fixed," she said, "he can't to meeting go."
So she cut twelve inches off, pressed and fixed 'em neatly.
Then she totted back to bed and soon was snoring sweetly.

About an hour after that, lo, sister Hannah woke.
She thought of Rastus and his pants and swift slipped on her cloak.
Downstairs then she quickly flew, and never once she flinches,
'til from those pants she sliced and cut another dozen inches.

Clock ticked on when downstairs crept one of Rastus' aunts.
Swift with needle, scissors, thread, she wrestles with his pants.
Her conscience wouldn't let her sleep, and downstairs it had brought her,
and when she quit, those hoodooed pants were sixteen inches shorter.

The scene when Rastus tried 'em on no circus e'er could beat.
The pants reached somewhere 'round his neck instead of 'round his feet.
But they came in handy just the same, at least so run the rumors.
Rastus' sister, Lizie Jane, is wearing them for bloomers.