James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

A Letter To A Friend


The past is like a story
I have listened to in dreams
That vanished in the glory
Of the Morning's early gleams;
And--at my shadow glancing--
I feel a loss of strength,
As the Day of Life advancing
Leaves it shorn of half its length.

But it's all in vain to worry
At the rapid race of Time--
And he flies in such a flurry
When I trip him with a rhyme,
I'll bother him no longer
Than to thank you for the thought
That 'my fame is growing stronger
As you really think it ought.'

And though I fall below it,
I might know as much of mirth
To live and die a poet
Of unacknowledged worth;
For Fame is but a vagrant--
Though a loyal one and brave,
And his laurels ne'er so fragrant
As when scattered o'er the grave.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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