Friday, February 12, 2021

Today's poem by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét

On Abraham Lincoln's birthday, I thought I would post a poem I learned as a child.  I've never read anything quite like it, and though it is probably a "children's poem", I find it even more meaningful as an adult and mother. 

            Nancy Hanks 

by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét 1933

If Nancy Hanks
Came back as a ghost,
Seeking news
Of what she loved most,
She’d ask first “Where’s my son?
What’s happened to Abe?
What’s he done?”

“Poor little Abe,
Left all alone
Except for Tom,
Who’s a rolling stone;
He was only nine
The year I died.
I remember still
How hard he cried.”

“Scraping along
In a little shack,
With hardly a shirt
To cover his back,
And a prairie wind
To blow him down,
Or pinching times
If he went to town.”

“You wouldn’t know
About my son?
Did he grow tall?
Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read?
Did he get to town?
Do you know his name?
Did he get on?”


  1. I memorized that one at some point in my schooling, too, and was surprised at how much of it came back to me just now as I read it. It's a very touching look at what it means to be a mother...beautifully written.

    1. Don't you love it that you did! I love having poems in my head. The other one is Poe's The Bells.

  2. I forgot that today was Lincoln's birthday. Somehow when they combined Lincoln's and Washington's into one day it lost the significance for both of them. That's a nice poem to remember Abe by.

    1. I wonder if teachers still teach about those Presidents on their b-days??

  3. I had forgotten about this poem. I never memorized it but I remember reading it in school. Thanks for sharing it. Presidents Day got lost here yesterday in the midst of our freaky cold, snowy, icy winter weather, frozen pipes, rolling blackouts, and Mardi Gras today (Fat Tuesday) very quietly being observed here in Shreveport, Louisiana.

    1. Wow! Sounds just like our friends in Texas had. Normal for here and sure not normal for you!


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