James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
The ticking-- ticking-- ticking of the clock--!
That vexed me so last night--! 'For though Time keeps
Such drowsy watch,' I moaned, 'he never sleeps,
But only nods above the world to mock
Its restless occupant, then rudely rock
It as the cradle of a babe that weeps!'
I seemed to see the seconds piled in heaps
Like sand about me; and at every shock
O' the bell, the piled sands were swirled away
As by a desert-storm that swept the earth
Stark as a granary floor, whereon the gray
And mist-bedrizzled moon amidst the dearth
Came crawling, like a sickly child, to lay
Its pale face next mine own and weep for day.
Wait for the morning! Ah! We wait indeed
For daylight, we who toss about through stress
Of vacant-armed desires and emptiness
Of all the warm, warm touches that we need,
And the warm kisses upon which we feed
Our famished lips in fancy! May God bless
The starved lips of us with but one caress
Warm as the yearning blood our poor hearts bleed...!
A wild prayer--! Bite thy pillow, praying so--
Toss this side, and whirl that, and moan for dawn;
Let the clock's seconds dribble out their woe,
And Time be drained of sorrow! Long ago
We heard the crowing cock, with answer drawn
As hoarsely sad at throat as sobs... Pray on!
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