James Whitcomb Riley

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

Job Work


'Write me a rhyme of the present time'.
And the poet took his pen
And wrote such lines as the miser minds
Hide in the hearts of men.

He grew enthused, as the poets used
When their fingers kissed the strings
Of some sweet lyre, and caught the fire
True inspiration brings,

And sang the song of a nation's wrong--
Of the patriot's galling chain,
And the glad release that the angel, Peace,
Has given him again.

He sang the lay of religion's sway,
Where a hundred creeds clasp hands
And shout in glee such a symphony
That the whole world understands.

He struck the key of monopoly,
And sang of her swift decay,
And traveled the track of the railway back
With a blithesome roundelay--

Of the tranquil bliss of a true love kiss;
And painted the picture, too,
Of the wedded life, and the patient wife,
And the husband fond and true;

And sang the joy that a noble boy
Brings to a father's soul,
Who lets the wine as a mocker shine
Stagnated in the bowl.

And he stabbed his pen in the ink again,
And wrote with a writhing frown,
'This is the end.' 'And now, my friend,
You may print it--upside down!'

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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