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Indiana’s Poet: James Whitcomb Riley

We'll hear one of James Whitcomb Riley's most charming poems, as well as his poetic nod to some flowers on a sunshiny day.

As Riley said, “And the pansies and pinks that the summertime throws…” Here are some beautiful "pinks"(Dianthus ‘Burning Witch’).

James Whitcomb Riley published a book of poetry entitled Naghborly Poems in 1891. His subtitle was “On Friendship, Grief and Farm-Life.” One of this Indiana poet’s most charming poems is “The First Bluebird.” Here it is:

Just rain and snow! And rain again!
And dribble! drip! and blow!
Then snow! and thaw! And slush! and then—
Some more rain and snow!

This morning I was most a feared
To wake up—when, I jing!
I seen the sun shine out and heerd
The first bluebird of spring!
Mother she’d raised the winder some;
And in acrost the orchard come,
Soft as an angel’s wing,
A breezy, treezy, beesy hum,
Too sweet for anything!

The winter’s shroud was rent a-part—
The sun bust forth in glee,
And when that bluebird sung, my hart
Hopped out o’bed with me!

Riley also wrote about flowers. So here is a flowery stanza:

Some sings of the lily, and daisy, and rose,
And the pansies and pinks that the summertime throws,
In the green grassy lap of the medder that lays
Blinkin’ up at the skyes through the sunshiny days…

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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