James Whitcomb Riley

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

Kingry's Mill - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

On old Brandywine-- about
Where White's Lots is now laid out,
And the old crick narries down
To the ditch that splits the town--,
Kingry's Mill stood. Hardly see
Where the old dam ust to be;
Shallor, long, dry trought o' grass
Where the old race ust to pass!

That's be'n forty years ago--
Forty years o' frost and snow--
Forty years o' shade and shine
Sence them boyhood-days o' mine--!
All the old landmarks o' town.
Changed about, er rotted down!
Where's the Tanyard? Where's the Still?
Tell me where's old Kingry's Mill?

Don't seem furder back, to me,
I'll be dogg'd! Than yisterd'y,
Since us fellers, in bare feet
And straw hats, went through the wheat,
Cuttin' 'crost the shortest shoot
Fer that-air old ellum root
Jest above the mill-dam-- where
The blame' cars now crosses there!

Through the willers down the crick
We could see the old mill stick
Its red gable up, as if
It jest knowed we'd stol'd the skiff!
See the winders in the sun
Blink like they wuz wonderun'
What the miller ort to do
With sich boys as me and you!

But old Kingry--! Who could fear
That old chap, with all his cheer--?
Leanin' at the window-sill,
Er the half-door o' the mill,
Swoppin' lies, and pokin' fun,
'N jigglin' like his hoppers done--
Laughin' grists o' gold and red
Right out o' the wagon-bed!

What did he keer where we went--?
'Jest keep out o' devilment,
And don't fool around the belts,
Bolts, ner burrs, ner nothin' else
'Bout the blame machinery,
And that's all I ast!' says-ee.
Then we'd climb the stairs, and play
In the bran-bins half the day!

Rickollect the dusty wall,
And the spider-webs, and all!
Rickollect the trimblin' spout
Where the meal come josslln' out--
Stand and comb yer fingers through
The fool-truck an hour er two--
Felt so sorto' warm-like and
Soothin' to a feller's hand!

Climb, high up above the stream,
And 'coon' out the wobbly beam
And peek down from out the lof'
Where the weather-boards was off--
Gee-mun-nee! w'y, it takes grit
Even jest to think of it--!
Lookin' 'way down there below
On the worter roarin' so!

Rickollect the flume, and wheel,
And the worter slosh and reel
And jest ravel out in froth
Flossier'n satin cloth!
Rickollect them paddles jest
Knock the bubbles galley-west,
And plunge under, and come up
Drippin' like a worter-pup!

And to see them old things gone
That I onc't was bettin' on,
In rale p'int o' fact, I feel
kindo' like that worter-wheel--,
Sorto' drippy-like and wet
Round the eyes-- but paddlin' yet,
And in mem'ry, loafin' still
Down around old Kingry's Mill!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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