James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
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.
And you-- O you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return--,
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here;
And loyal still, as he gave the blows
Of his warrior-strength to his country's foes--.
Mild and gentle, as he was brave--,
When the sweetest love of his life he gave
To simple things--: Where the violets grew
Blue as the eyes they were likened to,
The touches of his hands have strayed
As reverently as his lips have prayed:
When the little brown thrush that harshly chirred
Was dear to him as the mocking-bird;
And he pitied as much as a man in pain
A writhing honey-bee wet with rain--.
Think of him still as the same, I say:
He is not dead-- he is just away!
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