James Whitcomb Riley

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

Harlie Poem by James Whitcomb Riley


Fold the little waxen hands
Lightly. Let your warmest tears
Speak regrets, but never fears,--
Heaven understands!
Let the sad heart, o'er the tomb,
Lift again and burst in bloom
Fragrant with a prayer as sweet
As the lily at your feet.

Bend and kiss the folded eyes--
They are only feigning sleep
While their truant glances peep
Into Paradise.
See, the face, though cold and white,
Holds a hint of some delight
E'en with Death, whose finger-tips
Rest upon the frozen lips.

When, within the years to come,
Vanished echoes live once more--
Pattering footsteps on the floor,
And the sounds of home,--
Let your arms in fancy fold
Little Harlie as of old--
As of old and as he waits
At the City's golden gates.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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