James Whitcomb Riley

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

At Utter Loaf


An afternoon as ripe with heat
As might the golden pippin be
With mellowness if at my feet
It dropped now from the apple-tree
My hammock swings in lazily.


The boughs about me spread a shade
That shields me from the sun, but weaves
With breezy shuttles through the leaves
Blue rifts of skies, to gleam and fade
Upon the eyes that only see
Just of themselves, all drowsily.


Above me drifts the fallen skein
Of some tired spider, looped and blown,
As fragile as a strand of rain,
Across the air, and upward thrown
By breaths of hayfields newly mown--
So glimmering it is and fine,
I doubt these drowsy eyes of mine.


Far-off and faint as voices pent
In mines, and heard from underground,
Come murmurs as of discontent,
And clamorings of sullen sound
The city sends me, as, I guess,
To vex me, though they do but bless
Me in my drowsy fastnesses.


I have no care. I only know
My hammock hides and holds me here
In lands of shade a prisoner:
While lazily the breezes blow
Light leaves of sunshine over me,
And back and forth and to and fro
I swing, enwrapped in some hushed glee,
Smiling at all things drowsily.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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