James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
I' b'en a-kindo musin', as the feller says, and I'm
About o' the conclusion that they ain't no better time,
When you come to cipher on it, than the times we used to know
When we swore our first 'dog-gone-it' sorto solem'-like and low!
You git my idy, do you?--_Little_ tads, you understand--
Jes' a wishin' thue and thue you that you on'y was a _man_.--
Yit here I am, this minute, even forty, to a day,
And fergittin' all that's in it, wishin' jes' the other way!
I hain't no hand to lectur' on the times, er dimonstrate
Whur the trouble is, er hector and domineer with Fate,--
But when I git so flurried, and so pestered-like and blue,
And so rail owdacious worried, let me tell you what I do!--
I jes' gee-haw the hosses, and unhook the swingle-tree,
Whur the hazel-bushes tosses down their shadders over me,
And I draw my plug o' navy, and I climb the fence, and set
Jes' a-thinkin' here, 'y gravy! till my eyes is wringin'-wet!
Tho' I still kin see the trouble o' the _present_, I kin see--
Kindo like my sight was double--all the things that _used to be_;
And the flutter o' the robin, and the teeter o' the wren
Sets the willer branches bobbin 'howdy-do' thum Now to Then!
The deadnin' and the thicket's jes' a bilin' full of June,
Thum the rattle o' the cricket, to the yallar-hammer's tune;
And the catbird in the bottom, and the sap-suck on the snag,
Seems ef they cain't--od-rot'em!--jes' do nothin' else but brag!
They's music in the twitter of the bluebird and the jay,
And that sassy little critter jes' a-peckin' all the day;
They's music in the 'flicker,' and they's music in the thrush,
And they's music in the snicker o' the chipmunk in the brush!
They's music _all around_ me!--And I go back, in a dream--
Sweeter yit than ever found me fast asleep--and in the stream
That used to split the medder whur the dandylions growed,
I stand knee-deep, and redder than the sunset down the road.
Then's when I' b'en a-fishin'!--and they's other fellers, too,
With their hickry poles a-swishin' out behind 'em; and a few
Little 'shiners' on our stringers, with their tails tiptoein' bloom,
As we dance 'em in our fingers all the happy journey home.
I kin see us, true to Natur', thum the time we started out
With a biscuit and a 'tater in our little 'roundabout!'
I kin see our lines a-tanglin', and our elbows in a jam,
And our naked legs a-danglin' thum the apern of the dam.
I kin see the honeysuckle climbin' up around the mill;
And kin hear the worter chuckle, and the wheel a-growlin' still;
And thum the bank below it I kin steal the old canoe,
And jes' git in and row it like the miller used to do.
W'y, I git my fancy focussed on the past so mortal plain
I kin even smell the locus'-blossoms bloomin' in the lane;
And I hear the cow-bells clinkin' sweeter tunes 'n 'money musk'
Far the lightnin'-bugs a-blinkin'and a-dancin'in the dusk.
And so I keep on musin', as the feller says, till I'm
Firm-fixed in the conclusion that they hain't no better time,
When you come to cipher on it, than the _old_ times,--and, I swear,
I kin wake and say 'dog-gone-it!' jes' as soft as any prayer!
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