Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A COMMON OCCURRENCE, by PRISCILLA JANE THOMPSON



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A COMMON OCCURRENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Lucindy, who you 'spose I seed
Last Line: "he's pintly changed fah wus."
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks


LUCINDY, who you 'spose I seed,
Down at de mill, today?
I know you nebbah 'ud agreed,
Dat he is, who he say.
It ain't no use to guess no mo',
Fah you's way off de track;
Dah, honey! 'twus one ub de Rowe's --
Dat one dey all called Jack.

When we libed on his pappy's place.
You know, he wus de one,
Dat al'ays had dat grinnin' face,
And wrote ou' lettahs home.
Dat boy -- de pictah ub his pap,
Wid ha' all curled an' light;
Dat useta messmate wid ou' chaps,
De same ef dey wus white.

But mussy, honey! mussy me!
He's lurnt his propah place,
Done climed dat des'-stool like a tree,
Specked eyes, an' frowned his face.
An' crow-feet all about his eyes!
Looks fifty fo' uh pas';
Dis fac' de white folks cain't deny:
Dey do git ole so fas'.

Dat's right Lucindy! he's ez ole,
As ou' own Malachi;
But 'tis de trute dat I done tole,
He looks mos' ole ez I.
"Hello dah, Petah!" loud he sed,
(Done laid de 'uncle' by;)
"I'd knowed you, ef I done been dead,
An' seed you in de sky."

"Guess I's becum a strangah, so,
Mus' intahduce, I see;
Why, I am mistah Jackson Rowe --
You use ta wuk fah me."
Yo' pappy, boy, you mus' ta mean;
I wuked fah him a deal,
When you wus but a youngstah, lean,
A sniv'lin' at his heel.

I looked wid all de eyes I hed;
De pas' my brain did rack;
But spite ub all -- it made me med,
I couldn't fin' Rowe's Jack.
"Why, hab I changed dat much?" he sed,
An' 'peared a little hu't;
It quickly cumed into my hed,
I sed, "not fah de wus"

He sed, he'd bought sheers in dat mill;
Lucindy, ain't you beat!
De house, wid his big voice wus fill,
A-holl'rin' 'bout his wheat.
He'd boss de men in his employ,
Den 'dress me as "my lad,"
De same ef I'd a been a boy,
An' he ole ez my dad.

He's got de 'big-he'd', dat's de fac';
And got de 'big-he'd,' bed;
He made b'lieve, he'd fahgot my chaps --
"Cain't place dem, Pete," he sed.
"Cain't min' my Malachi?" I sed;
"An' all my uddah chaps?
You cain't keep ole times in yo' hed?'
You's dif'unt f'om yo' pap.

An' den he spoke ub trabbling 'roun';
Ub business keers, all days;
An' den his face put on dat frown,
An' so I cumed away.
An' all along ez I cumed back,
I thought, whut I thought fus:
"Dat, ef dis is Rowe's grinnin' Jack,
He's pintly changed fah wus."







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