Lockerbie Street

James Whitcomb Riley

Such a dear little street it is, nestled away
From the noise of the city and heat of the day,
In cool shady coverts of whispering trees,
With their leaves lifted up to shake hands with the breeze
Which in all its wide wanderings never may meet
With a resting-place fairer than Lockerbie street!

There is such a relief, from the clangor and din
Of the heart of the town, to go loitering in
Through the dim, narrow walks, with the sheltering shade
Of the trees waving over the long promenade,
And littering lightly the ways of our feet
With the gold of the sunshine of Lockerbie street.

And the nights that come down the dark pathways of dusk,
With the stars in their tresses, and odors of musk
In their moon-woven raiments, bespangled with dews,
And looped up with lilies for lovers to use
In the songs that they sing to the tinkle and beat
Of their sweet serenadings through Lockerbie street.

O my Lockerbie street!  You are fair to be seen--
Be it noon of the day, or the rare and serene
Afternoon of the night-- you are one to my heart,
And I love you above all the phrases of art,
For no language could frame and no lips could repeat
My rhyme-haunted raptures of Lockerbie street.

James Whitcomb Riley, "The Hoosier Poet", lived the last 23 years of his life at 528 Lockerbie Street in the Lockerbie Square area of Indianapolis. It now houses the James Whitcomb Riley Museum.

Lockerbie Square is said to be the oldest surviving neighbourhood in Indianapolis. It was founded by a Scottish family - the Lockerbies - in the middle of the 19th century. The leafy area with its attractive houses now has a protected status on the National Register of Historic Places.