James Whitcomb Riley

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

On The Banks O' Deer Crick - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

On the banks o' Deer Crick! There's the place fer me!--
Worter slidin' past ye jes as clair as it kin be:--
See yer shadder in it, and the shadder o' the sky,
And the shadder o' the buzzard as he goes a-lazein' by;
Shadder o' the pizen-vines, and shadder o' the trees--
And I purt'-nigh said the shadder o' the sunshine and the breeze!
Well--I never seen the ocean ner I never seen the sea:
On the banks o' Deer Crick's grand enough fer me!

On the banks o' Deer Crick--mild er two from town--
'Long up where the mill-race comes a-loafin' down,--
Like to git up in there--'mongst the sycamores--
And watch the worter at the dam, a-frothin' as she pours:
Crawl out on some old log, with my hook and line,
Where the fish is jes so thick you kin see 'em shine
As they flicker round yer bait, _coaxin_' you to jerk,
Tel yer tired ketchin' of 'em, mighty nigh, as _work_!

On the banks o' Deer Crick!--Allus my delight
Jes to be around there--take it day er night!--
Watch the snipes and killdees foolin' half the day--
Er these-'ere little worter-bugs skootin' ever'way!--
Snakefeeders glancin' round, er dartin' out o' sight;
And dew-fall, and bullfrogs, and lightnin'-bugs at night--
Stars up through the tree-tops--er in the crick below,--
And smell o' mussrat through the dark clean from the old b'y-o!

Er take a tromp, some Sund'y, say, 'way up to 'Johnson's Hole,'
And find where he's had a fire, and hid his fishin' pole;
Have yer 'dog-leg,' with ye and yer pipe and 'cut-and-dry'--
Pocketful o' corn-bred, and slug er two o' rye,--
Soak yer hide in sunshine and waller in the shade--
Like the Good Book tells us--'where there're none to make afraid!'
Well!--I never seen the ocean ner I never seen the sea--
On the banks o' Deer Crick's grand enough fer me!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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