James Whitcomb Riley

The Bat

James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively.






I.

Thou dread, uncanny thing,
With fuzzy breast and leathern wing,
In mad, zigzagging flight,
Notching the dusk, and buffeting
The black cheeks of the night,
With grim delight!

II.

What witch's hand unhasps
Thy keen claw-cornered wings
From under the barn roof, and flings
Thee forth, with chattering gasps,
To scud the air,
And nip the lady-bug, and tear
Her children's hearts out unaware?

III.

The glow-worm's glimmer, and the bright,
Sad pulsings of the fire-fly's light,
Are banquet lights to thee.
O less than bird, and worse than beast,
Thou Devil's self, or brat, at least,
Grate not thy teeth at me!

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