James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
I've ben thinkin' back, of late,
S'prisin'!--And I'm here to state
I'm suspicious it's a sign
Of _age_, maybe, or decline
Of my faculties,--and yit
I'm not _feelin'_ old a bit--
Any more than sixty-four
Ain't no _young_ man any more!
Thinkin' back's a thing 'at grows
On a feller, I suppose--
Older 'at he gits, i jack,
More he keeps a-thinkin' back!
Old as old men git to be,
Er as middle-aged as me,
Folks'll find us, eye and mind
Fixed on what we've left behind--
Them old times we used to hike
Out barefooted fer the crick,
'Long 'bout _Aprile first_--to pick
Out some 'warmest' place to go
In a-swimmin'--_Ooh! my-oh!_
Wonder now we hadn't died!
Grate horseradish on my hide
Jes' _a-thinkin'_ how cold then
That-'ere worter must 'a' ben!
Thinkin' back--W'y, goodness me!
I kin call their names and see
Every little tad I played
With, er fought, er was afraid
Of, and so made _him_ the best
Friend I had of all the rest!
Thinkin' back, I even hear
Them a-callin', high and clear,
Up the crick-banks, where they seem
Still hid in there--like a dream--
And me still a-pantin' on
The green pathway they have gone!
Still they hide, by bend er ford--
Still they hide--but, thank the Lord,
(Thinkin' back, as I have said),
I hear laughin' on ahead!
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