The Old Bad Woman

A poem by John Charles McNeill

The Old Bad Woman was coming along,
Busily humming a sort of song.

You could barely see, below her bonnet,
Her chin where her long nose rested on it.

One tooth thrust out on her lower lip,
And she held one hand upon her hip.

Then we went to thinking mighty fast,
For we knew our time had come at last.

For what we had done and didn't do
The Old Bad Woman would put us through.

If you cried enough to fill your hat,
She wouldn't care; she was used to that.

Of the jam we had eaten, she would know;
How we ran barefooted in the snow;

How we cried when they made us take our bath;
How we tied the grass across the path;

How we bound together the cat and cur--
We couldn't deny these things to her.

She pulled her nose up off her chin
And blinked at us with an awful grin.

And we almost died, becaze and because
Her bony fingers looked like claws.

When she came on up to where we were,
How could we be polite to her?

You needn't guess how she put us through.
If you are bad, she'll visit you.

And when she leaves and hobbles off
You'll think that she has done enough;

For the Old Bad Woman will and can
Be just as bad as the Old Bad Man!

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