66 Chapters
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Time of Clearer Twitterings

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub


TIME of crisp and tawny leaves,

And of tarnished harvest sheaves,

And of dusty grasses—weeds—

Thistles, with their tufted seeds

Voyaging the Autumn breeze

Like as fairy argosies:

Time of quicker flash of wings,

And of clearer twitterings

In the grove, or deeper shade

Of the tangled everglade,—

Where the spotted water-snake

Coils him in the sunniest brake;

And the bittern, as in fright,

Darts, in sudden, slanting flight,

Southward, while the startled crane

Films his eyes in dreams again.


Down along the dwindled creek

We go loitering.We speak

Only with old questionings

Of the dear remembered things

Of the days of long ago,

When the stream seemed thus and so

In our boyish eyes:—The bank

Greener then, through rank on rank

Of the mottled sycamores,

Touching tops across the shores:

Here, the hazel thicket stood—

There, the almost pathless wood

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Home-Made Fairy-Tale, A

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub

BUD, come here to your Uncle a spell,

And I’ll tell you something you mustn’t tell—

For it’s a secret and shore-nuff true,

And maybe I oughtn’t to tell it to you!—

But out in the garden, under the shade

Of the apple-trees, where we romped and played

Till the moon was up, and you thought I’d gone

Fast asleep.—That was all put on!

For I was a-watchin’ something queer

Goin’ on there in the grass, my dear!

’Way down deep in it, there I see

A little dude-Fairy who winked at me,

And snapped his fingers, and laughed as low

And fine as the whine of a mus-kee-to!

I kept still—watchin’ him closer—and

I noticed a little guitar in his hand,

Which he leant ’ginst a little dead bee—and laid

His cigarette down on a clean grass-blade;

And then climbed up on the shell of a snail—

Carefully dusting his swallowtail—

And pulling up, by a waxed web-thread,

This little guitar, you remember, I said!

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A Tale of the Airly Days

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub

OH! tell me a tale of the airly days—

Of the times as they ust to be;

“Piller of Fi-er” and “Shakespeare’s Plays”

Is a’ most too deep fer me!

I want plane facts, and I want plane words,

Of the good old-fashioned ways,

When speech run free as the songs of birds

’Way back in the airly days.

Tell me a tale of the timber-lands—

Of the old-time pioneers;

Somepin’ a pore man understands

With his feelins ’s well as ears.

Tell of the old log house,—about

The loft , and the puncheon flore—

The old fi-er-place, with the crane swung out,

And the latch-string thrugh the door.

Tell of the things jest as they was—

They don’t need no excuse!—

Don’t tech ’em up like the poets does,

Tel theyr all too fine fer use!—

Say they was ’leven in the fambily—

Two beds, and the chist, below,

And the trundle-beds that each helt three,

And the clock and the old bureau.

Then blow the horn at the old back-door

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When Early March Seems Middle May

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub







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Squirtgun Uncle Maked Me, The

James Whitcomb Riley Indiana University Press ePub

UNCLE Sidney, when he wuz here,

Maked me a squirtgun out o’ some

Elder-bushes ’at growed out near

Where wuz the brickyard—’way out clear

To where the toll-gate come!

So when we walked back home again,

He maked it, out in our woodhouse where

Wuz the old workbench, an’ the old jack-plane,

An’ the old ’pokeshave, an’ the tools all lay’n’

Ist like he wants ’em there.

He sawed it first with the old hand-saw;

An’ nen he peeled off the bark, an’ got

Some glass an’ scraped it; an’ told ’bout Pa,

When he wuz a boy an’ fooled his Ma,

An’ the whippin’ ’at he caught.

Nen Uncle Sidney, he took an’ filed

A’ old arn ramrod; an’ one o’ the ends

He screwed fast into the vise; an’ smiled,

Thinkin’, he said, o’ when he wuz a child,

’Fore him an’ Pa wuz mens.

He punched out the peth, an’ nen he put

A plug in the end with a hole notched through;

Nen took the old drawey-knife an’ cut

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