I've allus held -- till jest of late -- that Poetry and me
Got on best, not to 'sociate -- that is, most poetry;
But t'other day my Son-in-law, who'd ben in town to mill,
Fetched home a present, like, fer Ma: -- The Rhymes of Ironquill.
He used to teach; and course his views ranks over common sense;
That's biased me till I refuse 'most all he rickcommends :
But Ma she read and read along, and cried, like women will,
About "The Washerwoman's Song" in Rhymes of Ironquill.
And then she made me read the thing, and found my specs and all;
And I jest leant back there, I jing! my cheer against the wall,
And read and read, and read and read, all to myse'f, ontil
I lit the lamp and went to bed with Rhymes of Ironquill!
I propped myse'f up there, and -- Durn! -- never shet an eye
Till daylight! -- hogged the whole concern, tee-total, mighty nigh! --
I'd sigh sometimes, and cry sometimes, er laugh jest fit to kill --
Clean captured, like, with them-air Rhymes of that-air Ironquill!
Read that-un 'bout old "Marmaton" 'at hain't ben ever sized
In song before -- and yit's rolled on jest same as 'postrophized; --
Putt me in mind of our old crick at Freeport; and the mill;
And Hinchman's Ford -- till jest home-sick! them Rhymes of Ironquill!
Read that-un too -- 'bout game o' whist -- and likenin' Life to fun
Like that -- and playin' out yer fist, however cards is run;
And them "Tobacker-Stemmers' Song" they sung with sich a will,
Down 'mongst the misery and wrong, O Rhymes of Ironquill!
And old "John Brown," who broke the sod of Freedom's fallor field
And sowed his heart there, thankin' God pore slaves 'ud git the yield! --
Rained his last tears for them, and us, to irrigate and till
A crop of songs as glorious as Rhymes of Ironquill!
And, sergeant, died there in the War, 'at talked, out of his head --
He went "back to the Violet Star," I'll bet! -- jest like he said! --
Yer wars kin riddle bone and flesh, and blow out brains, and spill
Life-blood -- but SOMEPIN' lives on, fresh as Rhymes of Ironquill!
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.