phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Barefoot girl

Posted by Henry on April 05, 2004

In Reply to: Barefoot girl posted by ESC on April 05, 2004

: : I was reading an interview with an American poet and he referred to someone as "a barefoot girl". I had the feeling this was a phrase that had a particular connotation, other than just referring literally to a girl with no stockings or socks on. An attitude or way of living or stance, or something. But I'm at a loss as to just what this is. Anyone know?

: In the past, country children in my part of the U.S. (West Virginia and Kentucky) would go barefoot in the summer. So "barefoot girl" might refer to a girl in her youth. Along the same lines, here's the opening to a poem:

: 797. The Barefoot Boy
: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
: BLESSINGS on thee, little man,
: Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
: With thy turned-up pantaloons,
: And thy merry whistled tunes;
: With thy red lip, redder still
: Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
: With the sunshine on thy face,
: Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
: From my heart I give thee joy,-
: I was once a barefoot boy!

It 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!

So it seems to be someone without grown-up responsibilities and troubles.