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A Trip to Soupy Island

They called us river rats,
living near the river in narrow streets,
teeming with real rats at night
crawling bold from warehouses,
storm drains and slaughterhouses
to roam our homes and bite us.

Hungry little rats flocked to the river
to Penn Treaty's Pier on Delaware's shore
on summer afternoons to climb aboard
the "Johnnie" or the "Lizzie" boat waiting
for our daily trip to Soupy Island.

On the Island we were served free of charge
a tasty meal of soup, crackers and milk.
They had swings and a merry-go-round too.

Sponsored by the Children's Cruise
and Playground Society of Philadelphia,
Soupy Island was a most pleasant place
where you could escape for a few hours
the hot muggy streets and eat wholesome food.

You never owned up being fed there
at Soupy Island's charity kitchen.
That was a place for poor children to go,
and when you met with fellow travelers
sitting on the stoop the taunt was always
"got your lunch at Soupy Island didn't you?"

I never got meals at Soupy Island,
oh no not me, that was for the poor kids.

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