James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
O the Lands of Where-Away!
Tell us--tell us--where are they?
Through the darkness and the dawn
We have journeyed on and on--
From the cradle to the cross--
From possession unto loss,--
Seeking still, from day to day,
For the lands of Where-Away.
When our baby-feet were first
Planted where the daisies burst,
And the greenest grasses grew
In the fields we wandered through,
On, with childish discontent,
Ever on and on we went,
Hoping still to pass, some day,
O'er the verge of Where-Away.
Roses laid their velvet lips
On our own, with fragrant sips;
But their kisses held us not,
All their sweetness we forgot;--
Though the brambles in our track
Plucked at us to hold us back--
'Just ahead,' we used to say,
'Lie the Lands of Where-Away.'
Children at the pasture-bars,
Through the dusk, like glimmering stars,
Waved their hands that we should bide
With them over eventide:
Down the dark their voices failed
Falteringly, as they hailed,
And died into yesterday--
Night ahead and--Where-Away?
Twining arms about us thrown--
Warm caresses, all our own,
Can but stay us for a spell--
Love hath little new to tell
To the soul in need supreme,
Aching ever with the dream
Of the endless bliss it may
Find in Lands of Where-Away!
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