Poem: A Boy’s Feet

Edward A. Guest, 1923. Contributed by Barb Parrish

I got a cowlick, an’ it stands 
Up straight, an’ I got dirty hands,
An’ if it shows a single speck
I have to go an’ wash my neck,
An every day Ma squints an’ peers
To see if I have washed my ears;
But I ain’t ever really neat
All on account of havin’ feet.

These feet of mine are always wrong,
I mustn’t shuffle ‘em along
Or kick a stone that’s in the way,
Or if I do someone will say:
“I wish you’d lift your feet a bit;
The way you walk gives me a fit!
Those shoes were new a week ago
An’ now you’ve busted out the toe.”

They’re always peckin’ at me, too,
For standin’ like the fellers do.
An’ just because my toes turn in,
The teacher makes the pupils grin
By tellin’ me ten times a day:
“Please turn your toes the other way!”
An’ even when I’m in my seat 
She kicks if I just swing my feet.

If I get nervous an’  I put
One shoe upon the other foot,
Or scrape the floor, they say: “My land!
Is that the way a boy should stand?”
An’ if I rest ‘em on a chair,
Ma says: “Don’t put your feet up there!”
An’ if I sit on them they roar:
“Please put your feet upon the floor!”

I’m getting’ tired of all this talk
About the way I stand or walk,
An’ anyhow it seems to me,
At least as far as I can see,
My feet aren’t any different than
The other fellers ‘round her, an’
Some day my temper will explode –
It ain’t my fault I’m pigeon-toed.


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