James Whitcomb Riley

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

The Home-Going Poem by James Whitcomb Riley


We must get home--for we have been away
So long it seems forever and a day!
And O so very homesick we have grown,
The laughter of the world is like a moan
In our tired hearing, and its songs as vain,--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home: It hurts so, staying here,
Where fond hearts must be wept out tear by tear,
And where to wear wet lashes means, at best,
When most our lack, the least our hope of rest
When most our need of joy, the more our pain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home: All is so quiet there:
The touch of loving hands on brow and hair--
Dim rooms, wherein the sunshine is made mild---
The lost love of the mother and the child
Restored in restful lullabies of rain.--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home, where, as we nod and drowse,
Time humors us and tiptoes through the house,
And loves us best when sleeping baby-wise,
With dreams--not tear-drops--brimming our clenched eyes,--
Pure dreams that know nor taint nor earthly stain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home; and, unremembering there
All gain of all ambitions otherwhere,
Rest--from the feverish victory, and the crown
Of conquest whose waste glory weighs us down.--
Fame's fairest gifts we toss back with disdain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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