James Whitcomb Riley

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

June At Woodruff - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

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Out at Woodruff Place--afar
From the city's glare and jar,
With the leafy trees, instead
Of the awnings, overhead;
With the shadows cool and sweet,
For the fever of the street;
With the silence, like a prayer,
Breathing round us everywhere.

Gracious anchorage, at last,
From the billows of the vast
Tide of life that comes and goes,
Whence and where nobody knows--
Moving, like a skeptic's thought,
Out of nowhere into naught.
Touch and tame us with thy grace,
Placid calm of Woodruff Place!

Weave a wreath of beechen leaves
For the brow that throbs and grieves
O'er the ledger, bloody-lined,
'Neath the sun-struck window-blind!
Send the breath of woodland bloom
Through the sick man's prison room,
Till his old farm-home shall swim
Sweet in mind to hearten him!

Out at Woodruff Place the Muse
Dips her sandal in the dews,
Sacredly as night and dawn
Baptize lilied grove and lawn:
Woody path, or paven way--
She doth haunt them night and day,--
Sun or moonlight through the trees,
To her eyes, are melodies.

Swinging lanterns, twinkling clear
Through night-scenes, are songs to her--
Tinted lilts and choiring hues,
Blent with children's glad halloos;
Then belated lays that fade
Into midnight's serenade--
Vine-like words and zithern-strings
Twined through ali her slumberings.

Blessed be each hearthstone set
Neighboring the violet!
Blessed every rooftree prayed
Over by the beech's shadel
Blessed doorway, opening where
We may look on Nature--there
Hand to hand and face to face--
Storied realm, or Woodruff Place.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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