Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MAD, MAD MUSE, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE MAD, MAD MUSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The rhyme o' the raggedy man's 'at's best
Last Line: Tickle me, love, in me lonesome ribs!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Variant Title(s): The Lugubrious Whing-whang
Subject(s): Fantasy; Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1837-1909)


THE rhyme o' The Raggedy Man's 'at's best
Is Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs,
'Cause that-un's the strangest of all o' the rest,
An' the worst to learn, an' the last one guessed,
An' the funniest one, an' the foolishest. --
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

I don't know what in the world it means --
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs! --
An' nen when I tell him I don't, he leans
Like he was a-grindin' on some machines
An' says: Ef I don't, w'y, I don't know beans!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Out on the margin of Moonshine Land,
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
Out where the Whing-Whang loves to stand,
Writing his name with his tail in the sand,
And swiping it out with his oogerish hand;
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Is it the gibber of Gungs or Keeks?
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
Or what is the sound that the Whing-Whang seeks? --
Crouching low by the winding creeks,
And holding his breath for weeks and weeks!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Aroint him the wraithest of wraithly things!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
'Tis a fair Whing-Whangess, with phosphor rings,
And bridal-jewels of fangs and stings;
And she sits and as sadly and softly sings
As the mildewed whir of her own dead wings, --
Tickle me, Dear, Tickle me here,
Tickle me, Love, in me Lonesome Ribs!





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