Memory and a Mysterious Poem for Mother’s Day

A Memory of my mother leads to a mysterious poem–help welcomed!photo2

This was my mother in her mid 20s, She was born November 1, 1923, and at her 70th birthday party, my aunt Pauline announced that my mother, Charlotte Kaufman, was the first girl child born in the Bronx on that day. Maybe the only girl child born in the Bronx on that day. The Bronx was much less crowded in the ’20s, when my mother was born. It was a blessed place to escape from the Lower East Side and the Garment district, full of parks, vacant lots, places to play. When my mother grew up she roamed the streets with her group of Zionist idealists from Hashomer Hatzair. It was the Depression. There was not a lot of money around. But listen to how these young people amused themselves:

They would take MAJOR walks, starting from the end of the subway lines in the Bronx and walking up to Tibbets Brook Park in Yonkers and back. Ten or twenty miles–before Nikes!

Of course, they would sing.

They would do dramatic choral readings.

Because it’s been unusually rainy here in Palo Alto–we had two rainy days in a row in May, when there is usually no rain all month–there was one poem in particular that my mother would recite that I wish I could find the source of. I’m sure I’m ruining it, and I’d like to get it right. I think it was called:

“Mo rain, mo res'”

and it went:

“The rain been a rainin for a week and more

It mumble at the window and it bumble at the door

Can’t plant taters and you can’t plant corn

Gonna be a famine just as sure as your born

Gonna be a famine, no mo’ no less

But the Lord make the rain and the Lord know best

Mo’ rain, mo res’,

Mo’ rain mo res’.


WHO WROTE IT?  I just spent an hour on Google, and can’t find it.

It isn’t Sandburg, or Whitman, or Langston Hughes, or Robert W. Service. 

I’m stumped.



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