James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

A Fruit Piece


The afternoon of summer folds
Its warm arms round the marigolds,

And with its gleaming fingers, pets
The watered pinks and violets

That from the casement vases spill,
Over the cottage window-sill,

Their fragrance down the garden walks
Where droop the dry-mouthed hollyhocks.

How vividly the sunshine scrawls
The grape-vine shadows on the walls!

How like a truant swings the breeze
In high boughs of the apple-trees!

The slender 'free-stone' lifts aloof,
Full languidly above the roof,

A hoard of fruitage, stamped with gold
And precious mintings manifold.

High up, through curled green leaves, a pear
Hangs hot with ripeness here and there.

Beneath the sagging trellisings,
In lush, lack-lustre clusterings,

Great torpid grapes, all fattened through
With moon and sunshine, shade and dew,

Until their swollen girths express
But forms of limp deliciousness--

Drugged to an indolence divine
With heaven's own sacramental wine.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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