Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A MAN CHILD IS BORN (1809), by EDGAR LEE MASTERS



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A MAN CHILD IS BORN (1809), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The wind blows through the chinks it's snowing too
Last Line: With logs to mend the fire!
Subject(s): Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865); Presidents, United States


(A neighbor woman is talking)

The wind blows through the chinks -- it's snowing too,
Tom piles the logs on, but that door is loose.
An earthen floor is always cold. You're warm.
I'm glad I brought a kiverlid along,
An extra one comes handy at this time.
You are all right -- you had an easy time,
Considering this baby, big and long.
He's very long, will be a tall man, too,
A hunter and a chopper, Indian fighter,
Lord, who knows what, a big man in the country,
A preacher, congressman or senator,
A president -- who knows? God blesses you
To give you such a son. He nurses well.
Don't let him have too much at first. You see
That single window gives too little light
To show you what he's like. He looks a little
Like Nancy Shipley Hanks, your mother, perhaps
A little like your aunt, old Mary Lincoln.
Since you and Tom are cousins, it may be
This boy will be a mixture, but if folks
Resemble animals, the traits of you
Will be made stronger in this child, because
You two are cousins.

You will be up to see
What he looks like, in just a week or so.
Perhaps when next the flames mount in the fire-place
The light will show you. Have you named him yet --
Tom likes the name of Abraham -- well, that's good --
You've chosen that!

I thought I heard a step --
Who do you think is coming? Dennis Hanks!
He's come to see his cousin Abraham.

Good mornin', Dennis! come into the fire --
I'll let you see your cousin Abraham --
A big, long baby -- quick! and shut the door,
The room is none too warm, the wind is blowing --
Tom's gone for logs again! Here, I'll raise up
The kiverlid and let you see -- look here!
You think he's homely! Pretty is, you know,
As pretty does -- but see how big and long!
In fifteen years he'll make you up and come
To beat him wrestling, I will bet a coon's skin.
Now you may kiss him; in a little bit
I'll let you hold him by the fire. The pot
Is on for dinner, we are having squirrel
And hominy for dinner -- you can stay.
Now clear out, Dennis -- I must do some things --
Open the door for Tom, he's coming there
With logs to mend the fire!





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