Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A STRAY CHILD, by ELIZA SPROAT TURNER



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A STRAY CHILD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The chill november day was done
Last Line: "I should get lost without it."
Variant Title(s): A Little Goose


THE chill November day was done,
The working world home faring;
The wind came roaring through the streets
And set the gas-lights flaring;
And hopelessly and aimlessly
The scared old leaves were flying;
When, mingled with the sighing wind,
I heard a small voice crying.

And shivering on the corner stood
A child of four, or over;
No cloak or hat her small, soft arms,
And wind blown curls to cover.
Her dimpled face was stained with tears;
Her round blue eyes ran over;
She cherished in her wee, cold hand,
A bunch of faded clover.
And one hand round her treasure while
She slipped in mine the other:
Half scared, half confidential, said,
"Oh! please, I want my mother!"
"Tell me your street and number, pet:
Don't cry, I'll take you to it."
Sobbing she answered, "I forget:
The organ made me do it.

"He came and played at Milly's steps,
The monkey took the money;
And so I followed down the street,
The monkey was so funny.
I've walked about a hundred hours,
From one street to another:
The monkey's gone, I've spoiled my flowers,
Oh! please, I want my mother."

"But what's your mother's name? and what
The street? Now think a minute."
"My mother's name is mamma dear --
The street -- I can't begin it."
"But what is strange about the house,
Or new -- not like the others?"
"I guess you mean my trundle-bed,
Mine and my little brother's.

"Oh dear! I ought to be at home
To help him say his prayers, --
He's such a baby he forgets;
And we are both such players; --
And there's a bar to keep us both
From pitching on each other,
For Harry rolls when he's asleep:
Oh dear! I want my mother."

The sky grew stormy; people passed
All muffled, homeward faring:
You'll have to spend the night with me,"
I said at last, despairing.
I tied a kerchief round her neck --
"What ribbon's this, my blossom?"
"Why don't you know?" she smiling, said,
And drew it from her bosom.

A card with number, street, and name;
My eyes astonished met it;
"For," said the little one, "you see
I might sometimes forget it:
And so I wear a little thing
That tells you all about it;
For mother says she's very sure
I should get lost without it."





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