James Whitcomb Riley

Thinkin' Back

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've ben thinkin' back, of late,
S'prisin'!--And I'm here to state
I'm suspicious it's a sign
Of _age_, maybe, or decline
Of my faculties,--and yit
I'm not _feelin'_ old a bit--
Any more than sixty-four
Ain't no _young_ man any more!

Thinkin' back's a thing 'at grows
On a feller, I suppose--
Older 'at he gits, i jack,
More he keeps a-thinkin' back!
Old as old men git to be,
Er as middle-aged as me,
Folks'll find us, eye and mind
Fixed on what we've left behind--
Rehabilitatin'-like
Them old times we used to hike
Out barefooted fer the crick,
'Long 'bout _Aprile first_--to pick
Out some 'warmest' place to go
In a-swimmin'--_Ooh! my-oh!_
Wonder now we hadn't died!
Grate horseradish on my hide
Jes' _a-thinkin'_ how cold then
That-'ere worter must 'a' ben!

Thinkin' back--W'y, goodness me!
I kin call their names and see
Every little tad I played
With, er fought, er was afraid
Of, and so made _him_ the best
Friend I had of all the rest!

Thinkin' back, I even hear
Them a-callin', high and clear,
Up the crick-banks, where they seem
Still hid in there--like a dream--
And me still a-pantin' on
The green pathway they have gone!
Still they hide, by bend er ford--
Still they hide--but, thank the Lord,
(Thinkin' back, as I have said),
I hear laughin' on ahead!

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