James Whitcomb Riley

  A day of torpor in the sullen heat
    Of Summer's passion: In the sluggish stream
  The panting cattle lave their lazy feet,
    With drowsy eyes, and dream.

  Long since the winds have died, and in the sky
    There lives no cloud to hint of Nature's grief;
  The sun glares ever like an evil eye,
    And withers flower and leaf.

  Upon the gleaming harvest-field remote
    The thresher lies deserted, like some old
  Dismantled galleon that hangs afloat
    Upon a sea of gold.

  The yearning cry of some bewildered bird
    Above an empty nest, and truant boys
  Along the river's shady margin heard--
    A harmony of noise--

  A melody of wrangling voices blent
    With liquid laughter, and with rippling calls
  Of piping lips and trilling echoes sent
    To mimic waterfalls.

  And through the hazy veil the atmosphere
    Has draped about the gleaming face of Day,
  The sifted glances of the sun appear
    In splinterings of spray.

  The dusty highway, like a cloud of dawn,
    Trails o'er the hillside, and the passer-by,
  A tired ghost in misty shroud, toils on
    His journey to the sky.

  And down across the valley's drooping sweep,
    Withdrawn to farthest limit of the glade,
  The forest stands in silence, drinking deep
    Its purple wine of shade.

  The gossamer floats up on phantom wing;
    The sailor-vision voyages the skies
  And carries into chaos everything
    That freights the weary eyes:

  Till, throbbing on and on, the pulse of heat
    Increases--reaches--passes fever's height,
  And Day sinks into slumber, cool and sweet,
    Within the arms of Night.

James Whitcomb Riley wrote extensively about Indiana, its towns, farmlands and rural landscapes.

Main Location:

Indiana, USA