We’re all (I presume) familiar with John Greenleaf Whittier’s classic poem “Barefoot Boy“.
Do you think maybe I could find a poem about a barefoot girl?
Of course I could.
If you read Whittier’s classic, you’ll see that he’s not talking all that much about the joys of going barefoot (sorry!), but that the time of being a barefoot boy (as all the kids went barefoot in their youth back then) was a time with few of the worries or responsibilities of adulthood. After all, here is how the poem ends.
All too soon these feet must hide
In the prison cells of pride,
Lose the freedom of the sod,
Like a colt’s for work be shod,
Made to tread the mills of toil,
Up and down in ceaseless moil:
Happy if their track be found
Never on forbidden ground;
Happy if they sink not in
Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy,
Ere it passes, barefoot boy!
Barefooters, at least, try to keep (or recapture) at least “the freedom of the sod”.
Anyways, this “Barefoot Girl” poem is really rather similar in its outlook. Not a lot about the joys of being barefoot, and it’s more about losing the carefreeness of youth, but from a female perspective.
It was written by H. I. Phillips (a well-known columnist of the time) in 1951.
Blessings on thee, little doll.
Barefoot girl (and that ain’t all);
With thy turned-up pantaloons
And the merry jukebox tunes;
With the red lips redder still,
Kissed by strawberries? (Don’t be “sill”;)
With thy manner cute and pert
And thy brother’s baseball-shirt!
Princess, thou, of summer joy;
I could cry out, “Atta boy!”—
‘Til I look again and see
You are built so daintily.
Oh, for girlhood’s painless play,
Sleep that wakes the laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor’s rules,
Knowledge gained from tabloid’s schools
Of stars of stage and screen.
Where they are and with whom seen,
Who is wedded, who is freed
Where the latest scandals breed;
Who’s in Reno, who is not,
What producer’s “on the spot”;
Flight of wife and pursuit wild,
Who gets custody of the child.
Who the lawyers are and what
Is the latest scuttlebutt.
How the child-bride shoots her mate,
What the gossipers relate,
How each screen queen builds her nest,
Where the alimony’s best.
What is on the hit parade,
What new crooner’s made the grade,
All the words of “Jezebel”;
Under “Truly Fair’s” wide spell,
Dancing, baby, to the tune
Of the hit “How High the Moon?”
You know those band leaders who
Make you gay or make you blue,
How the current crooners rate
Which is good and which is great.
Where the bathing beaches bloom,
How the wild romances boom.
Where the speedboats flash and whiz,
Who the tall, dark fellow is,
How the moonlight casts its spell,
Why soft music sounds so swell.
Cheerily, my summer miss.
Live and laugh in sweetest bliss!
Though it’s quite a torrid pace,
You can make it, baby-face;
Every morn shall see thee through
Fresh baptisms of the dew
(In your dreams, fair sleepyhead,
Mornings late you stay in bed;
Afternoons and evenings, too
Will be time enough for you).
All too soon such joys must flee
And a grownup you will be.
Settled down with aching feet
Striving to make both ends meet,
Bringing up a family,
Shopping at chain grocery,
Working on a budget plan.
HOW TO FEED YOUR BAREFOOT MAN!
[Picture from here.]