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James Whitcomb Riley

Poems by James Whitcomb Riley


found 449 works
There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
But childish troubles will soon pass by...
A barefoot boy! I mark him at his play --
For May is here once more, and so is he, --
His dusty trousers, rolled half to the knee,
And his bare ankles grimy, too, as they:
Cross-hatchings of the nettle, in array
Of feverish stripes, hint vividly to me...
To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away...
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey cock
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest...
Tell you what I like the best --
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, -- some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else...
A languid atmosphere, a lazy breeze,
With labored respiration, moves the wheat
From distant reaches, till the golden seas
Break in crisp whispers at my feet.
My book, neglected of an idle mind,
Hides for a moment from the eyes of men...
A deep, delicious hush in earth and sky --
A gracious lull--since, from its wakening,
The morn has been a feverish, restless thing
In which the pulse of Summer ran too high
And riotous, as though its heart went nigh
To bursting with delights past uttering...
I have sipped, with drooping lashes,
Dreamy draughts of Verzenay;
I have flourished brandy-smashes
In the wildest sort of way;
I have joked with 'Tom and Jerry'
Till wee hours ayont the twal...
1 Granny's come to our house,
2 And ho! my lawzy-daisy!
3 All the childern round the place
4 Is ist a-runnin' crazy!
5 Fetched a cake fer little Jake,
6 And fetched a pie fer Nanny...
Because her eyes were far too deep
And holy for a laugh to leap
Across the brink where sorrow tried
To drown within the amber tide;
Because the looks, whose ripples kissed
The trembling lids through tender mist...
I woo'd a woman once,
But she was sharper than an eastern wind.
Tennyson
"What may I do to make you glad,
To make you glad and free,
Till your light smiles glance...
I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead- . He is just away!
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there...
O I will walk with you, my lad, whichever way you fare,
You'll have me, too, the side o' you, with heart as light as air;
No care for where the road you take's a-leadin' anywhere,--
It can but be a joyful ja'nt whilst you journey there.
The road you take's the path o' love, an' that's the bridth o' two--
An' I will walk with you, my lad -- O I will walk with you...
What delightful hosts are they --
   Life and Love!
Lingeringly I turn away,
   This late hour, yet glad enough
They have not withheld from me
   Their high hospitality...
New Castle, July 4, 1878
or a hundred years the pulse of time
Has throbbed for Liberty;
For a hundred years the grand old clime
Columbia has been free;
For a hundred years our country's love...
1 Our hired girl, she's 'Lizabuth Ann;
2 An' she can cook best things to eat!
3 She ist puts dough in our pie-pan,
4 An' pours in somepin' 'at's good an' sweet;
5 An' nen she salts it all on top
6 With cinnamon; an' nen she'll stop...
Scene.--_A kitchen.--Group of Children, popping corn.--The Fairy Queen
of the Seasons discovered in the smoke of the corn-popper.--Waving her
wand, and, with eerie, sharp, imperious ejaculations, addressing the
bespelled auditors, who neither see nor hear her nor suspect her
presence._
QUEEN...
Lying listless in the mosses
Underneath a tree that tosses
Flakes of sunshine, and embosses
Its green shadow with the snow--
Drowsy-eyed, I sink in slumber
Born of fancies without number...
Let us rest ourselves a bit!
Worry?-- wave your hand to it --
Kiss your finger-tips and smile
It farewell a little while.
Weary of the weary way
We have come from Yesterday...
I
A good man never dies--
In worthy deed and prayer
And helpful hands, and honest eyes,
If smiles or tears be there:
Who lives for you and me...
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