A BAREFOOT BOY - James Whitcomb Riley Poems


Poems » james whitcomb riley » a barefoot boy


A barefoot boy! I mark him at his play --
    For May is here once more, and so is he, --
    His dusty trousers, rolled half to the knee,
And his bare ankles grimy, too, as they:
Cross-hatchings of the nettle, in array
    Of feverish stripes, hint vividly to me
    Of woody pathways winding endlessly
Along the creek, where even yesterday
He plunged his shrinking body -- gasped and shook --
    Yet called the water "warm," with never lack
Of joy. And so, half enviously I look
    Upon this graceless barefoot and his track, --
    His toe stubbed -- ay, his big toe-nail knocked back
Like unto the clasp of an old pocketbook.