James Whitcomb Riley

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

The Willow


Who shall sing a simple ditty about the Willow,
Dainty-fine and delicate as any bending spray
That dandles high the dainty bird that flutters there to trill a
Tremulously tender song of greeting to the May.

Bravest, too, of all the trees! -- none to match your daring,--
First of greens to greet the Spring and lead in leafy sheen;--
Aye, and you're the last -- almost into winter wearing
Still the leaf of loyalty -- still the badge of green.

Ah, my lovely willow! --let the waters lilt your graces,--
They alone with limped kisses lave your leaves above,
Flashing back your silvan beauty, and in shady places
Peering up with glimmering pebbles, like the eyes of love.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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