James Whitcomb Riley

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

The Boys


Where are they?--the friends of my childhood enchanted--
The clear, laughing eyes looking back in my own,
And the warm, chubby fingers my palms have so wanted,
As when we raced over
Pink pastures of clover,
And mocked the quail's whir and the bumblebee's drone?

Have the breezes of time blown their blossomy faces
Forever adrift down the years that are flown?
Am I never to see them romp back to their places,
Where over the meadow,
In sunshine and shadow,
The meadow-larks trill, and the bumblebees drone?

Where are they? Ah! dim in the dust lies the clover;
The whippoorwill's call has a sorrowful tone,
And the dove's--I have wept at it over and over;--
I want the glad luster
Of youth, and the cluster
Of faces asleep where the bumblebees drone!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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