James Whitcomb Riley

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

Only A Dream - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Only a dream!
Her head is bent
Over the keys of the instrument,
While her trembling fingers go astray
In the foolish tune she tries to play.
He smiles in his heart, though his deep, sad eyes
Never change to a glad surprise
As he finds the answer he seeks confessed
In glowing features, and heaving breast.

Only a dream!
Though the fete is grand,
And a hundred hearts at her command,
She takes no part, for her soul is sick
Of the Coquette's art and the Serpent's trick,--
She someway feels she would like to fling
Her sins away as a robe, and spring
Up like a lily pure and white,
And bloom alone for HIM to-night.

Only a dream
That the fancy weaves.
The lids unfold like the rose's leaves,
And the upraised eyes are moist and mild
As the prayerful eyes of a drowsy child.
Does she remember the spell they once
Wrought in the past a few short months?
Haply not--yet her lover's eyes
Never change to the glad surprise.

Only a dream!
He winds her form
Close in the coil of his curving arm,
And whirls her away in a gust of sound
As wild and sweet as the poets found
In the paradise where the silken tent
Of the Persian blooms in the Orient,--
While ever the chords of the music seem
Whispering sadly,--'Only a dream!'


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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