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James Whitcomb Riley

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

At Crown Hill


Leave him here in the fresh
greening grasses and trees
And the symbols of love, and the solace of these-
The saintly white lilies and blossoms he keeps
In endless caress as
he breathlessly sleeps.
The tears of our eyes wrong the scene of his rest,
For the sky's at its clearest-the sun's at its best-
The earth at its greenest- its wild bud and bloom
At its sweetest-and sweetest its honey'd perfume.
Home! Home!-Leave him here in his lordly estate,
And with never a tear as we turn from the gate!
Turn back to the home that will know him no more,-
The vines at the window-the sun through the door,-
Nor sound of his voice, nor the light of his face!...
But the birds will sing on, and the rose, in his place,
Will tenderly smile til we daringly feign
He is home with us still, though the tremulous rain
Of our tears reappear, and again all is bloom,
And all prayerless we sob in the long-darkened room.
Heaven portions it thus-the old mystery dim,-
It is midnight to us-it is morning to him

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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