Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE ABSENCE OF LITTLE WESLEY, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Sence little wesley went, the place
Last Line: With our last prayers, and our last tears, sence little wesley's dead!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Absence; Clocks; Death; Moon; Prayer; Time; Separation; Isolation; Dead, The
SENCE little Wesley went, the place seems all so strange and still --
W'y, I miss his yell o' "Gran-pap!" as I'd miss the whipperwill!
And to think I ust to scold him fer his everlastin' noise,
When I on'y rickollect him as the best o' little boys!
I wisht a hunderd times a day 'at he'd come trompin' in,
And all the noise he ever made was twic't as loud ag'in! --
It 'u'd seem like some soft music played on some fine insturment,
'Longside o' this loud lonesomeness, sence little Wesley went!
Of course the clock don't tick no louder than it ust to do --
Yit now they's times it 'pears like it 'u'd bu'st itse'f in two!
And let a rooster, suddent-like, crow som'ers clos't around,
And seems's ef, mighty nigh it, it 'u'd lift me off the ground!
And same with all the cattle when they bawl around the bars,
In the red o' airly morning, er the dusk and dew and stars,
When the neighbers' boys 'at passes never stop, but jes' go on,
A-whistlin' kind o' to theirse'v's -- sence little Wesley's gone!
And then, o' nights, when Mother's settin' up oncommon late,
A-bilin' pears er somepin', and I set and smoke and wait,
Tel the moon out through the winder don't look bigger'n a dime,
And things keeps gittin' stiller -- stiller -- stiller all the time, --
I've ketched myse'f a-wishin' like -- as I clumb on the cheer
To wind the clock, as I hev done fer more'n fifty year --
A-wishin' 'at the time hed come fer us to go to bed,
With our last prayers, and our last tears, sence little Wesley's dead!
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