June at Woodruff

James Whitcomb Riley

  Out at Woodruff Place - afar
  From the city's glare and jar,
  With the leafy trees, instead
  Of the awnings, overhead;
  With the shadows cool and sweet,
  For the fever of the street;
  With the silence, like a prayer,
  Breathing round us everywhere.

  Gracious anchorage, at last,
  From the billows of the vast
  Tide of life that comes and goes,
  Whence and where nobody knows -
  Moving, like a skeptic's thought,
  Out of nowhere into naught.
  Touch and tame us with thy grace,
  Placid calm of Woodruff Place!

  Weave a wreath of beechen leaves
  For the brow that throbs and grieves
  O'er the ledger, bloody-lined,
  'Neath the sun-struck window-blind!
  Send the breath of woodland bloom
  Through the sick man's prison room,
  Till his old farm-home shall swim
  Sweet in mind to hearten him!

  Out at Woodruff Place the Muse
  Dips her sandal in the dews,
  Sacredly as night and dawn
  Baptize lilied grove and lawn:
  Woody path, or paven way -
  She doth haunt them night and day, -
  Sun or moonlight through the trees,
  To her eyes, are melodies.

  Swinging lanterns, twinkling clear
  Through night-scenes, are songs to her -
  Tinted lilts and choiring hues,
  Blent with children's glad halloos;
  Then belated lays that fade
  Into midnight's serenade -
  Vine-like words and zithern-strings
  Twined through ali her slumberings.

  Blesséd be each hearthstone set
  Neighboring the violet!
  Blessed every rooftree prayed
  Over by the beech's shadel
  Blessed doorway, opening where
  We may look on Nature - there
  Hand to hand and face to face -
  Storied realm, or Woodruff Place

Woodruff Place was founded in the early 1870s as a residential community for the wealthy of Indianapolis. It is about a mile from downtown Indianapolis. Having declined over the years, Woodruff Place has been recently improved and is now a desirable inner-city residential district.