James Whitcomb Riley

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

Our Boyhood Haunts - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Ho! I'm going back to where
We were youngsters.--Meet me there,
Dear old barefoot chum, and we
Will be as we used to be,--
Lawless rangers up and down
The old creek beyond the town--
Little sunburnt gods at play,
Just as in that far-away:--
Water nymphs, all unafraid,
Shall smile at us from the brink
Of the old millrace and wade
Tow'rd us as we kneeling drink
At the spring our boyhood knew,
Pure and clear as morning-dew:

And, as we are rising there,
Doubly dow'rd to hear and see,
We shall thus be made aware
Of an eerie piping, heard
High above the happy bird
In the hazel: And then we,
Just across the creek, shall see
(Hah! the goaty rascal!) Pan
Hoof it o'er the sloping green,
Mad with his own melody,
Aye, and (bless the beasty man!)
Stamping from the grassy soil
Bruised scents of _fleur-de-lis_,
Boneset, mint and pennyroyal.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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