No Boy Knows

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

There are many things that boys may know -
Why this and that are thus and so, -
Who made the world in the dark and lit
The great sun up to lighten it:
Boys know new things every day -
When they study, or when they play, -
When they idle, or sow and reap -
But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

Boys who listen - or should, at least, -
May know that the round old earth rolls East; -
And know that the ice and the snow and the rain -
Ever repeating their parts again -
Are all just water the sunbeams first
Sip from the earth in their endless thirst,
And pour again till the low streams leap. -
But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

A boy may know what a long glad while
It has been to him since the dawn's first smile,
When forth he fared in the realm divine
Of brook-laced woodland and spun-sunshine; -
He may know each call of his truant mates,
And the paths they went, - and the pasture-gates
Of the 'cross-lots home through the dusk so deep. -
But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

O I have followed me, o'er and o'er,
From the flagrant drowse on the parlor-floor,
To the pleading voice of the mother when
I even doubted I heard it then -
To the sense of a kiss, and a moonlit room,
And dewy odors of locust-bloom -
A sweet white cot - and a cricket's cheep. -
But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

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