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Best Famous James Whitcomb Riley Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous James Whitcomb Riley poems. This is a select list of the best famous James Whitcomb Riley poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous James Whitcomb Riley poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of James Whitcomb Riley poems.

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Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

A Parting Guest

 What delightful hosts are they -- 
 Life and Love! 
Lingeringly I turn away, 
 This late hour, yet glad enough 
They have not withheld from me 
 Their high hospitality.
So, with face lit with delight And all gratitude, I stay Yet to press their hands and say, "Thanks.
-- So fine a time! Good night.
"

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

A Song of the Road

 O I will walk with you, my lad, whichever way you fare, 
You'll have me, too, the side o' you, with heart as light as air; 
No care for where the road you take's a-leadin' anywhere,-- 
It can but be a joyful ja'nt whilst you journey there.
The road you take's the path o' love, an' that's the bridth o' two-- An' I will walk with you, my lad -- O I will walk with you.
Ho! I will walk with you, my lad, Be weather black or blue Or roadsides frost or dew, my lad -- O I will walk with you.
Aye, glad, my lad, I'll walk with you, whatever winds may blow, Or summer blossoms stay our steps, or blinding drifts of snow; The way thay you set face an' foot 's the way that I will go, An' brave I'll be, abreast o' ye, the Saints and Angels know! With loyal hand in loyal hand, an' one heart made o' two, Through summer's gold, or winter's cold, It's I will walk with you.
Sure, I will walk with you, my lad, A love ordains me to,-- To Heaven's door, an' through, my lad.
O I will walk with you.

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

The Rapture of the Year

 While skies glint bright with bluest light 
Through clouds that race o'er fields and town, 
And leaves go dancing left and right, 
And orchard apples tumble down; 
While school-girls sweet, in lane or street, 
Lean 'gainst the wind and feel and hear 
Its glad heart like a lover's beat,-- 
So reigns the rapture of the year.
The ho! and hey! and whop-hooray! Though winter clouds be looming, Remember a November day Is merrier than mildest May With all her blossoms blooming.
While birds in scattered flight are blown Aloft and lost in dusky mist, And truant boys scud home alone 'Neath skies of gold and amethyst; While twilight falls, and Echo calls Across the haunted atmosphere, With low, sweet laughs at intervals,-- So reigns the rapture of the year.
The ho! and hey! and whop-hooray! Though winter clouds be looming, Remember a November day Is merrier than mildest May With all her blossoms blooming.

More great poems below...

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

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.

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

Almost Beyond Endurance

 I ain't a-goin' to cry no more, no more!
I'm got ear-ache, an' Ma can't make
It quit a-tall;
An' Carlo bite my rubber-ball
An' puncture it; an' Sis she take
An' poke' my knife down through the stable-floor
An' loozed it - blame it all!
But I ain't goin' to cry no more, no more!

An' Aunt Mame wrote she's comin',
an she can't -
Folks is come there! - An I don't care
She is my Aunt!
An' my eyes stings; an' I'm
Ist coughin' all the time,
An' hurts me so; an' where my side's so sore
Grampa felt where, an' he
Says `Mayby it's pleurasy!"
But I ain't goin' to cry no more, no more!

An' I clumbed up an' nen failed off the fence,
An' Herbert he ist laugh at me!
An my fi'-cents
It sticked in my tin bank, an' I ist store
Purt' nigh my thumbnail off,
a-tryin to get
It out - nen smash it! - An' it's in there yit!
But I ain't goin' to cry no more, no more!

Oo! I'm so wickud! - An' my breath's so hot -
Ist like I run an' don't res' none
But ist run on when I ought to not;
Yes, an' my chin
An' lip's all warpy, an' teeth's so fast,
An' 's a place in my throat I can't swaller past -
An' they all hurt so!
An' oh, my-oh!
I'm a-startin' ag'in -
I'm a-startin ag'in, but I won't, fer shore! -
I ist ain't goin' to cry no more, no more!

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

When the Frost is on the Punkin

 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here-- Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees, And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees; But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock-- When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn, And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn; The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed; The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!-- O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock, When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock! Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps; And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! .
.
.
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me-- I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock-- When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

The Bumblebee

 You better not fool with a Bumblebee! --
Ef you don't think they can sting -- you'll see!
They're lazy to look at, an' kind o' go
Buzzin' an' bummin' aroun' so slow,
An' ac' so slouchy an' all fagged out,
Danglin' their legs as they drone about
The hollyhawks 'at they can't climb in
'Ithout ist a-tumble-un out ag'in!
Wunst I watched one climb clean 'way
In a jimson-blossom, I did, one day, --
An' I ist grabbed it -- an' nen let go --
An' "Ooh-ooh! Honey! I told ye so!"
Says The Raggedy Man; an' he ist run
An' pullt out the stinger, an' don't laugh none,
An' says: "They has be'n folks, I guess,
'At thought I wuz predjudust, more er less, --
Yit I still muntain 'at a Bumblebee
Wears out his welcome too quick fer me!"

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

Granny

 Granny's come to our house,
 And ho! my lawzy-daisy!
All the childern round the place
 Is ist a-runnin' crazy!
Fetched a cake fer little Jake,
 And fetched a pie fer Nanny,
And fetched a pear fer all the pack
 That runs to kiss their Granny!


Lucy Ellen's in her lap,
 And Wade and Silas Walker
Both's a-ridin' on her foot,
 And 'Pollos on the rocker;
And Marthy's twins, from Aunt Marinn's,
 And little Orphant Annie,
All's a-eatin' gingerbread
 And giggle-un at Granny!


Tells us all the fairy tales
 Ever thought er wundered --
And 'bundance o' other stories --
 Bet she knows a hunderd! --
Bob's the one fer "Whittington,"
 And "Golden Locks" fer Fanny!
Hear 'em laugh and clap their hands,
 Listenin' at Granny!


"Jack the Giant-Killer" 's good;
 And "Bean-Stalk" 's another! --
So's the one of "Cinderell'"
 And her old godmother; --
That-un's best of all the rest --
 Bestest one of any, --
Where the mices scampers home
 Like we runs to Granny!


Granny's come to our house,
 Ho! my lawzy-daisy!
All the childern round the place
 Is ist a-runnin' crazy!
Fetched a cake fer little Jake,
 And fetched a pie fer Nanny,
And fetched a pear fer all the pack
 That runs to kiss their Granny!

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

The Old Guitar

 Neglected now is the old guitar
And moldering into decay;
Fretted with many a rift and scar
That the dull dust hides away,
While the spider spins a silver star
In its silent lips to-day.
The keys hold only nerveless strings-- The sinews of brave old airs Are pulseless now; and the scarf that clings So closely here declares A sad regret in its ravelings And the faded hue it wears.
But the old guitar, with a lenient grace, Has cherished a smile for me; And its features hint of a fairer face That comes with a memory Of a flower-and-perfume-haunted place And a moonlit balcony.
Music sweeter than words confess, Or the minstrel's powers invent, Thrilled here once at the light caress Of the fairy hands that lent This excuse for the kiss I press On the dear old instrument.
The rose of pearl with the jeweled stem Still blooms; and the tiny sets In the circle all are here; the gem In the keys, and the silver frets; But the dainty fingers that danced o'er them-- Alas for the heart's regrets!-- Alas for the loosened strings to-day, And the wounds of rift and scar On a worn old heart, with its roundelay Enthralled with a stronger bar That Fate weaves on, through a dull decay Like that of the old guitar!

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

Who Bides His Time

 Who bides his time, and day by day 
Faces defeat full patiently, 
And lifts a mirthful roundelay, 
However poor his fortunes be,-- 
He will not fail in any qualm 
Of poverty -- the paltry dime 
It will grow golden in his palm, 
Who bides his time.
Who bides his time -- he tastes the sweet Of honey in the saltest tear; And though he fares with slowest feet, Joy runs to meet him, drawing near; The birds are hearalds of his cause; And, like a never-ending rhyme, The roadsides bloom in his applause, Who bides his time.
Who bides his time, and fevers not In the hot race that none achieves, Shall wear cool-wreathen laurel, wrought With crimson berries in the leaves; And he shall reign a goodly king, And sway his hand o'er every clime With peace writ on his signet-ring, Who bides his time.

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

At Broad Ripple

 Oh luxury! Beyond the heat 
And dust of town, with dangling feet 
Astride the rock below the dam, 
In the cool shadows where the calm 
Rests on the stream again, and all 
Is silent save the waterfall,-- 
I bait my hook and cast my line, 
And feel the best of life is mine.
No high ambition can I claim -- I angle not for lordly game Of trout, or bass, or wary bream -- A black perch reaches the extreme Of my desires; and "goggle-eyes" Are not a thing that I despise; A sunfish, or a "chub," or a "cat"-- A "silver-side"-- yea, even that! In eloquent tranquility The waters lisp and talk to me.
Sometimes, far out, the surface breaks, As some proud bass an instant shakes His glittering armor in the sun, And romping ripples, one by one, Come dallyiong across the space Where undulates my smiling face.
The river's story flowing by, Forever sweet to ear and eye, Forever tenderly begun -- Forever new and never done.
Thus lulled and sheltered in a shade Where never feverish cares invade, I bait my hook and cast my line, And feel the best of life is mine.

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

Little Orphant Annie

 INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION

To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay, An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away, An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep, An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep; An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done, We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about, An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you Ef you Don't Watch Out! Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,-- An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs, His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl, An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all! An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press, An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess; But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:-- An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out! An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin, An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin; An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there, She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care! An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide, They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side, An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about! An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out! An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue, An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo! An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray, An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,-- You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear, An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear, An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about, Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out!

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

A Barefoot Boy

 A barefoot boy! I mark him at his play --
 For May is here once more, and so is he, --
 His dusty trousers, rolled half to the knee,
And his bare ankles grimy, too, as they:
Cross-hatchings of the nettle, in array
 Of feverish stripes, hint vividly to me
 Of woody pathways winding endlessly
Along the creek, where even yesterday
He plunged his shrinking body -- gasped and shook --
 Yet called the water "warm," with never lack
Of joy.
And so, half enviously I look Upon this graceless barefoot and his track, -- His toe stubbed -- ay, his big toe-nail knocked back Like unto the clasp of an old pocketbook.

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

Our Hired Girl

 Our hired girl, she's 'Lizabuth Ann;
An' she can cook best things to eat!
She ist puts dough in our pie-pan,
An' pours in somepin' 'at's good an' sweet;
An' nen she salts it all on top
With cinnamon; an' nen she'll stop
An' stoop an' slide it, ist as slow,
In th' old cook-stove, so's 'twon't slop
An' git all spilled; nen bakes it, so
It's custard-pie, first thing you know!
An' nen she'll say,
"Clear out o' my way!
They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
Take yer dough, an' run, child, run!
Er I cain't git no cookin' done!"

When our hired girl 'tends like she's mad,
An' says folks got to walk the chalk
When she's around, er wisht they had!
I play out on our porch an' talk
To Th' Raggedy Man 'at mows our lawn;
An' he says, "Whew!" an' nen leans on
His old crook-scythe, and blinks his eyes,
An' sniffs all 'round an' says, "I swawn!
Ef my old nose don't tell me lies,
It 'pears like I smell custard-pies!"
An' nen he'll say,
"Clear out o' my way!
They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
Take yer dough, an' run, child, run!
Er she cain't git no cookin' done!"

Wunst our hired girl, when she
Got the supper, an' we all et,
An' it wuz night, an' Ma an' me
An' Pa went wher' the "Social" met,--
An' nen when we come home, an' see
A light in the kitchen door, an' we
Heerd a maccordeun, Pa says, "Lan'--
O'-Gracious! who can her beau be?"
An' I marched in, an' 'Lizabuth Ann
Wuz parchin' corn fer The Raggedy Man!
Better say,
"Clear out o' the way!
They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
Take the hint, an' run, child, run!
Er we cain't git no courtin' done!"

Written by James Whitcomb Riley |

The Merman

 I

Who would be
A merman bold,
Sitting alone
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,
On a throne?

II

I would be a merman bold,
I would sit and sing the whole of the day;
I would fill the sea-halls with a voice of power;
But at night I would roam abroad and play
With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,
Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower;
And holding them back by their flowing locks
I would kiss them often under the sea,
And kiss them again till they kiss'd me
 Laughingly, laughingly;
And then we would wander away, away,
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high,
 Chasing each other merrily.
III There would be neither moon nor star; But the wave would make music above us afar -- Low thunder and light in the magic night -- Neither moon nor star.
We would call aloud in the dreamy dells, Call to each other and whoop and cry All night, merrily, merrily.
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells, Laughing and clapping their hands between, All night, merrily, merrily, But I would throw to them back in mine Turkis and agate and almondine; Then leaping out upon them unseen I would kiss them often under the sea, And kiss them again till they kiss'd me Laughingly, laughingly.
O, what a happy life where mine Under the hollow-hung ocean green! Soft are the moss-beds under the sea; We would live merrily, merrily.