Well, eight months ago one clear cold day,
I took a ramble up Broadway,
And with my hands behind my back
I strolled along on the streetcar track—
(I walked on the track, for walking there
Gives one, I think, a distinguished air.
“Well, all of a sudden I felt a jar
And I said, “I’ll bet that’s a trolley car,”
And, sure enough, when I looked to see
I saw it had run right over me!
And my limbs and things were so scattered about
That for a moment I felt put out.
Well, the motorman was a nice young chap!
And he came right up and tipped his cap
And said, “Beg pardon,” and was so kind
That his gentle manner soothed my mind:
Especially as he took such pains
To gather up my spilt remains.
Well, he found my arms and found my head,
And then, in a contrite voice, he said,
“Say, mister, I guess I’ll have to beg Your pardon,
I can’t find your left leg,”
And he would have wept, but I said,
“No! no! It doesn’t matter, just let it go.
Well, I went on home and on the way
I considered what my wife would say:
I knew she would have some sharp reply
If I let her know I was one leg shy,
So I thought, on the whole, ’twould be just as well
For my peace of mind if I didn’t tell.
Well, that was the first thing in my life
That I kept a secret from my wife.
And for eight long months I was in distress
To think that I didn’t dare confess,
And I’d probably still feel just that way
If it hadn’t come ’round to Christmas Day.
Well, in good old customs I still believe,
So I hung up my stocking Christmas Eve;
(A brand-new left one I’d never worn.
And when I looked in it Christmas morn
There was my leg, as large as life,
With a ticket on it, “From your wife.
Well, my wife had had it stored away
In cotton, since last Easter Day,
When she ran across it, quite by chance,
In the left hip-pocket of my pants;
And the only reproachful thing she said
Was, “Look out or some day you’ll lose your head.
Top Ellis Parker Butler Poems