A Poem


In one of the comments, Martin asked about whether kids used to go barefoot because they liked it or because they were poor.

As part of my answer, I mentioned that there were poems from back then about kids loving to go barefoot. Here is one of them, from 1903, written by Burges Johnson:

        Goin’ Barefoot

It’s more fun goin’ barefoot than anythin’
    I know.
There ain’t a single nother thing that helps
    yer feelin’s so.
Some days I stay in Muvver’s room a get-
    tin’ in her way;
An’ when I’ve bothered her so much she sez,
    “Oh, run an’ play!”
I say, “Kin I go barefoot?” En she say,
    “If y’ choose”–
Nen I alwuz wanter holler when I’m pullin’
    off my shoes!

It’s fun a-goin’ barefoot when yer playin’
    any game,–
‘Cause robbers would be noisy an’ Indians
    awful tame
Unless they had their shoes off when they
    crep’ up in th’ night,
An’ folks can’t know they’re comin’ till they
    get right close in sight!
An’ I’m surely goin’ barefoot every day when
    I get old,
An’ haven’t got a nurse to say I’ll catch my
    death o’ cold!

An’ if yer goin’ barefoot, yer want t’ go out-
Y’ can’t stretch out an’ dig yer heels in
    stupid hard-wood floors
Like you kin dig ’em in th’ dirt! An’
    where th’ long grass grows,
The blades feel kinder tickley and cool be-
    tween yer toes.
So when I’m pullin’ off my shoes I’m
    mighty ‘fraid I’ll cough,–
‘Cause then I know Ma’d stop me ‘fore I
    got my stockin’s off!

If y’ often go round barefoot there’s lot o’
    things to know,–
Of how t’ curl yer feet on stones so they
    won’t hurt y’ so,–
An’ when th’ grass is stickley an’ pricks
    y’ at a touch,
Jes plunk yer feet down solid an’ it don’t
    hurt half so much.
I lose my hat mos’ every day. I wish I did
    my shoes,–
Er else I wisht I was so poor I hadn’t none
    to lose!


One Response to “A Poem”

  1. Dan Says:

    Love the poem! Thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.

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