A Worn-Out Pencil.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Here I lay
You at rest - all worn away,
O my pencil, to the tip
Of our old companionship!

Sighs to see
What you are, and used to be,
Looking backward to the time
When you wrote your earliest rhyme! -

When I sat
Filing at
Your first point, and dreaming that
Your initial song should be
Worthy of posterity.

With regret
I forget
If the song be living yet,
Yet remember, vaguely now,
It was honest, anyhow.

You have brought
Me a thought -
Truer yet was never taught, -
That the silent song is best,
And the unsung worthiest.

So if I,
When I die,
May as uncomplainingly
Drop aside as now you do,
Write of me, as I of you: -

Here lies one
Who begun
Life a-singing, heard of none;
And he died, satisfied,
With his dead songs by his side.

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