James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
In youth he wrought, with eyes ablur,
Lorn-faced and long of hair--
In youth--in youth he painted her
A sister of the air--
Could clasp her not, but felt the stir
Of pinions everywhere.
She lured his gaze, in braver days,
And tranced him sirenwise;
And he did paint her, through a haze
Of sullen paradise,
With scars of kisses on her face
And embers in her eyes.
And now--nor dream nor wild conceit--
Though faltering, as before--
Through tears he paints her, as is meet,
Tracing the dear face o'er
With lilied patience meek and sweet
As Mother Mary wore.
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