A Tale Of The Airly Days

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Oh! tell me a tale of the airly days -
Of the times as they ust to be;
"Piller of Fi-er" and "Shakespeare's Plays"
Is a' most too deep fer me!
I want plane facts, and I want plane words,
Of the good old-fashioned ways,
When speech run free as the songs of birds
'Way back in the airly days.

Tell me a tale of the timber-lands -
Of the old-time pioneers;
Somepin' a pore man understands
With his feelins's well as ears.
Tell of the old log house, - about
The loft, and the puncheon flore -
The old fi-er-place, with the crane swung out,
And the latch-string thrugh the door.

Tell of the things jest as they was -
They don't need no excuse! -
Don't tech 'em up like the poets does,
Tel theyr all too fine fer use! -
Say they was 'leven in the fambily -
Two beds, and the chist, below,
And the trundle-beds that each helt three,
And the clock and the old bureau.

Then blow the horn at the old back-door
Tel the echoes all halloo,
And the childern gethers home onc't more,
Jest as they ust to do:
Blow fer Pap tel he hears and comes,
With Tomps and Elias, too,
A-marchin' home, with the fife and drums
And the old Red White and Blue!

Blow and blow tel the sound draps low
As the moan of the whipperwill,
And wake up Mother, and Ruth and Jo,
All sleepin' at Bethel Hill:
Blow and call tel the faces all
Shine out in the back-log's blaze,
And the shadders dance on the old hewed wall
As they did in the airly days.

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