Digital Tradition Mirror

Little Blossom

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Little Blossom

"Oh dear, I'm so tired an' lonesome,
I wonder why mama don't come;
She told me to shut up my blue eyes,
An' 'fore I'd wake up she'd come home.

"I think I'II go down an' meet papa,
I reckon he stopped at the store;
It's a pretty big store full of bottles,
I wish he wouldn't go there no more.

"Sometimes he is sick when he comes home,
An' stumbles an' falls on the stair,
An' one time he come in the parlor,
An' kicked at my pore little chair.

"An' I 'member how papa was angry,
His face was so red an' so wild,
An' I 'member he struck at pore mama,
A-smilin' so meek an' so mild.

"But I reckon I better go find him,
Perhaps he'll come home with me soon,
An' then it won't be dark an' lonesome
A-waitin' for mama to come."

Out into the night went the baby,
Her little heart beatin' with fright,
Till her tired feet reached the gin-palace,
All radiant with music an' light.

The little hand pushed the door open,
Though her touch was as light as a breath;
The little feet entered the portal
That leads but to ruin an' death.

"Oh papa," she cried as she reached him,
An' her voice rippled out sweet an' clear,
"I thought if I come here I'd find you,
I knowed that you'd surely be here!"

A moment the bleared eyes gazed wildly
Down into the face sweet an' fair,
An' then as the demon possessed him
He grabbed at the back of a chair.

One moment, one second, 'twas over,
The work of the fiend was complete,
An ' his pore little innocent baby
Lay quiverin' an' crushed at his feet.

Then swift as the light come his reason
An' showed him the deed he had done;
With a groan that the devil might pity
He knelt by her quiverin' form.

He pressed the pale face to his bosom,
He lifted the fair golden head;
A moment the baby lips quivered,
Then pore little Phoebe was dead.

Then in come the law so majestic
An' says with his life he must pay,
That only a fiend or a madman
Would murder a child that-a-way.

But the man that had sold him the pizen
That made him a demon of hell,
Why, he must be loved an' respected
Because he was licensed to sell.

He may rob you of friends an' of money,
Send you down to perdition an' woe,
But so long as he pays for the license,
The law must protect him, you know.

God pity the women an' children,
Who live under the juggernaut rum;
God hasten the day when against it
Neither heart, voice or pen shall be dumb.

From Ozark Folksongs, Randolph
Collected from Bertha Combs, MO 1923
Recorded by Arkansas Arky Woodchopper, Clyde Moody, Dolly Parton, Mac
     Wiseman. Based on a poem by Martha J. Bidwell in 1873. RG

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