Back From a Two-years' Sentence

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Back from a two-years' sentence!
And though it had been ten,
You think, I were scarred no deeper
In the eyes of my fellow-men.
"My fellow-men?" Sounds like a satire,
You think - and I so allow,
Here in my home since childhood,
Yet more than a stranger now!

Pardon! Not wholly a stranger,
For I have a wife and child:
That woman has wept for two long years,
And yet last night she smiled!
Smiled, as I leapt from the platform
Of the midnight train, and then -
All that I knew was that smile of hers,
And our babe in my arms again!

Back from a two-years' sentence -
But I've thought the whole thing through,
A hint of it came when the bars swung back
And I looked straight up in the blue
Of the blessed skies with my hat off!
O-ho! I've a wife and child:
That woman has wept for two long years,
And yet last night she smiled!

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