Poem by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)


Happy Holidays!

The Christmas Long Ago


Come, sing a hale Heigh-ho
For the Christmas long ago!--
When the old log-cabin homed us
From the night of blinding snow,
Where the rarest joy held reign,
And the chimney roared amain,
With the firelight like a beacon
Through the frosty window-pane.

Ah! the revel and the din
From without and from within,
The blend of distant sleigh-bells
With the plinking violin;
The muffled shrieks and cries--
Then the glowing cheeks and eyes--
The driving storm of greetings,
Gusts of kisses and surprise.

Sing--sweetest of all glees--
Of the taffy-makers, please,--
And, round the saucers in the snow,
The children thick as bees;
And sing each chubby cheek,
Chin and laughing lip astreak
With still a sweeter sweetness than
The tongue of Song can speak

Sing in again the mirth
Of the circle round the hearth,
With the rustic Sindbad telling us
The strangest tales on earth!
And the Minstrel Bard we knew,
With his "Love-i-er so True,"
Likewise his "Young House-K-yarpen-ter,"
And "Loved Henry," too!

And, forgetting ne'er a thing,
Lift a gladder voice and sing
Of the dancers in the kitchen--
Clean from start to "pigeon-wing"!
Sing the glory and the glee
And the joy and jubilee,--
The twirling form--the quickened breath--
The sigh of ecstasy.--

The eyes that smile alone
Back into our happy own--
The leaping pulse--the laughing blood--
The trembling undertone!--
Ho! pair us off once more,
With our feet upon the floor
And our heads and hearts in heaven,
As they were in days of yore!  



More information on James Whitcomb Riley

Poetry by Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 93 times
Written on 2021-12-20 at 00:00

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Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Riley's poetry is well crafted. My mother loves his poems. I'm sure that most Americans, after having read this, would say, "Now, that's real poetry."