Classic and Contemporary Poetry
SIS RAPALYE, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: When rainy-greener shoots the
Last Line: With laughter, blossoms, singing birds and sweet sis rapalye.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Children; Laughter; Spring; Childhood
WHEN rainy-greener shoots the grass
And blooms the cherry tree,
And children laugh by glittering brooks,
Wild with the ecstasy
Of bursting Spring, with twittering bird
And hum of honey-bee, --
"Sis Rapalye!" my spirit shouts . . .
And she is here with me!
As laugh the children, so her laugh
Haunts all the atmosphere; --
Her song is in the brook's refrain;
Her glad eyes, flashing clear,
Are in the morning dews; her speech
Is melody so dear,
The bluebird trills, -- "Sis Rapalye! --
I hear! -- I hear! -- I hear!"
Again in races, at "Recess,"
I see her braided hair
Toss past me as I stay to lift
Her straw hat, fallen there;
The school-bell sends a vibrant pang
My heart can hardly bear. --
Yet still she leads -- Sis Rapalye --
And leads me everywhere!
Now I am old. -- Yet she remains
The selfsame child of ten. --
Gay, gallant little girl, to race
On into Heaven then!
Yet gallant, gay Sis Rapalye --
In blossom-time, and when
The trees and grasses beckon her --
Comes back to us again.
And so, however long since youth
Whose raptures wild and free
An old man's heart may claim no more, --
With more than memory
I share the Spring's own joy that brings My boyhood back to me
With laughter, blossoms, singing birds And sweet Sis Rapalye.
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