Edgar Albert Guest

20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England

Bud Discusses Cleanliness

First thing in the morning, last I hear at night,
Get it when I come from school: 'My, you look a sight!
Go upstairs this minute, an' roll your sleeves up high
An' give your hands a scrubbing and wipe 'em till they're dry!
Now don't stand there and argue, and never mind your tears!
And this time please remember to wash your neck and ears.'

Can't see why ears grow on us, all crinkled like a shell,
With lots of fancy carvings that make a feller yell
Each time his Ma digs in them to get a speck of dirt,
When plain ones would be easy to wash and wouldn't hurt.
And I can't see the reason why every time Ma nears,
She thinks she's got to send me to wash my neck and ears.

I never wash to suit her; don't think I ever will.
If I was white as sister, she'd call me dirty still.
At night I get a scrubbing and go to bed, and then
The first thing in the morning, she makes me wash again.
That strikes me as ridiklus; I've thought of it a heap.
A feller can't get dirty when he is fast asleep.

When I grow up to be a man like Pa, and have a wife
And kids to boss around, you bet they'll have an easy life.
We won't be at them all the time, the way they keep at me,
And kick about a little dirt that no one else can see.
And every night at supper time as soon as he appears,
We will not chase our boy away to wash his neck and ears.
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