Verse > Anthologies > James Weldon Johnson, ed. > The Book of American Negro Poetry
James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938).  The Book of American Negro Poetry.  1922.
Calling the Doctor
John Wesley Holloway
AH’M sick, doctor-man, Ah’m sick!
Gi’ me some’n’ to he’p me quick,
  Don’t,—Ah’ll die!
Tried mighty hard fo’ to cure mahse’f;
Tried all dem t’ings on de pantry she’f;        5
Couldn’ fin’ not’in’ a-tall would do,
  An’ so Ah sent fo’ you.
“Wha’d Ah take?” Well, le’ me see:
Firs’,—horhound drops an’ catnip tea;
Den rock candy soaked in rum,        10
An’ a good sized chunk o’ camphor gum;
Next Ah tried was castor oil,
An’ snakeroot tea brought to a boil;
Sassafras tea fo’ to clean mah blood;
But none o’ dem t’ings didn’ do no good.        15
Den when home remedies seem to shirk,
Dem pantry bottles was put to work:
Blue-mass, laud’num, liver pills,
“Sixty-six, fo’ fever an’ chills,”
Ready Relief, an’ A. B. C.,        20
An’ half a bottle of X. Y. Z.
An’ sev’al mo’ Ah don’t recall,
Dey nevah done no good at all.
Mah appetite begun to fail;
Ah fo’ced some clabber, about a pail,        25
Fo’ mah of gran’ma always said
When yo’ can’t eat you’re almost dead.
So Ah got scared an’ sent for you.—
Now, doctor, see what you c’n do.
Ah’m sick, doctor-man. Gawd knows Ah’m sick!        30
Gi’ me some’n’ to he’p me quick,
  Don’t,—Ah’ll die!


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