Nothing To Do

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Don't know what to do to-day.
Got so many things to do
I can't do them. Want to play,
But my toys are all too new
I don't like to play with them:
Blocks and paints and dogs and guns;
Watch that winds up by the stem;
And a train of cars that runs
Round a track and far away.
Don't know what to do to-day.
Don't know what to do to-day.

Whether just to stand and look
At my Christmas-tree, or stay
Looking at my picture-book
Full of fairy stories; or
Ask to have them read to me;
Or to bother mother for
Something off the Christmas-tree:
I don't know and I can't say
Don't know what to do to-day.
Don't know what to do to-day.

Never can make up my mind.
I could take my new red sleigh
And go sleighing on behind
Some old wagon on the snow
As the other children do:
But, you see, I just don't know!
There's my brand new wagon, too;
It'd be lonesome, me away.
Don't know what to do to-day.
Don't know what to do to-day.

There's my fine new rocking-horse,
Long of tail and dapple-gray,
I might ride on him of course:
But my new velocipede
What would it do then? or what
Would that "fiery, untamed steed,"
That I almost had forgot,
Hobbyhorse just think or say?
Don't know what to do to-day.
Don't know what to do to-day.

But I know what I could do:
I could make my donkey bray
By just twisting round a screw
In his stomach, and that's all;
I might make my rooster crow;
And my big mechanical doll
Play his music-box; and, oh!
I could make my old hen lay.
That's what I could do to-day.
"Don't know what to do to-day!"

Mother says, "Well, I suppose,
Better put your toys away.
You've too many, heaven knows!
Don't know what Old Santa meant
Bringing you a toy-store. You
Have too much, that's evident;
Give some to those children who
Have n't toys with which to play.
That's what you could do to-day.

"Don't know what to do to-day?
That's just what you could do! take
Lot of these new toys, you say
You won't play with, and just make
Christmas visits to the poor:
Little boys and girls Old Kris
Skipped; just made his old sleigh soar
O'er their chimneys; seemed to miss
Every one along his way.
That's what you could do to-day."
That's what I could do to-day.

Then I helped her put some things,
Toys and cakes and fruit, away;
Parceled up and wrapped with strings,
In a basket. Then we went
And it was a lot of fun!
To an alley-tenement:
Made them happy, every one.
It was better than a play.
That was what I did to-day.

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