We have looked in on James Whitcomb Riley, aka The Hoosier Poet, at least once before here in these eternally scrolling pages, but a glimpse or two hardly exhausts the fund of his wisdom. No, it would take many, many glimpses to achieve exhaustion.
Come, fetch the kerosene lamp and accompany me as I root around in the cellar where his poetry is kept in mouldering bankers’ boxes. Help me select something from his vast ouevre that will be suitable for the impending New Year, a year aeons in preparation and now, at last, almost ready to present itself for our delight… or for our doom.
Whoah! How about this quaint little offering? Here we find THP waxing nostalgic as he smokes and takes…
A BACKWARD LOOK
As I sat smoking, alone, yesterday,
And lazily leaning back in my chair,
Enjoying myself in a general way–
Allowing my thoughts a holiday
From weariness, toil and care,–
My fancies–doubtless, for ventilation–
Left ajar the gates of my mind,–
And Memory, seeing the situation,
Slipped out in the street of “Auld Lang Syne.”–
[Memories of the one-room schoolhouse, the ol’ swimmin’ hole, and so on, elided. He winds up…]
When life went so like a dreamy rhyme,
That it seems to me now that then
The world was having a jollier time
Than it ever will have again.
Wow. Ain’t it the truth?