Ragamuffin

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

There's a boy that you must know,
Always ragged, dirty too;
Just a wretched sight and show
Worst boy that I ever knew;
Always hitting other boys
Smaller than himself. Annoys
People, too, by throwing stones.
Breaks more windows! that's his game.
Some one ought to break his bones.
Ragamuffin is his name.
Ragamuffin, Ragamuffin!
Some day some one 'll knock the stuffin'
Out of you and then, perhaps,
You won't bully little chaps.

II.

Never goes to school, but plays
Hookey all the time. His hat
Slouched like some old drunken bat
Reeling through the evening haze,
Here he loafs and tries to scare
Little girls; yes, pulls their hair,
While he mouths at them and jeers:
Chews tobacco, too, the same
As these ragged grasshoppers.
Ragamuffin is his name.
Ragamuffin, Ragamuffin!
Some day you'll go home a-snuffin':
Some big brother's going to fix
You for all your loafer tricks.

III.

And at night he comes around,
Prying in the windows when
Children are alone: and then
Knocks and makes a dreadful sound,
Like a robber getting in;
Scares them till it is a sin,
Looking fierce as robbers do,
Cursing till it is a shame:
It would even frighten you.
Ragamuffin is his name.
Ragamuffin, Ragamuffin!
You had better quit your bluffin';
Watchman sure will cross your trail,
Catch and lock you up in jail.

IV.

But the worst thing that he does,
So I think, is poking fun
At poor beggars; never a one
Beggarly or villanous
As himself is. And he laughs,
Fit to kill, and apes and chaffs
Every cripple: lies in wait
Just to mock: pretends he's lame:
Jeers then, "Say! why ain't you straight?"
Ragamuffin is his name.
Ragamuffin, Ragamuffin!
Some day you will get a cuffin';
Man will kill you with a crutch
Hey! we would n't miss you much.

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