Thinkin' Back

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

I've ben thinkin' back, of late,
S'prisin'! - And I'm here to state
I'm suspicious it's a sign
Of age, maybe, or decline
Of my faculties, - and yit
I'm not feelin' old a bit -
Any more than sixty-four
Ain't no young man any more!

Thinkin' back's a thing 'at grows
On a feller, I suppose -
Older 'at he gits, i jack,
More he keeps a-thinkin' back!
Old as old men git to be,
Er as middle-aged as me,
Folks'll find us, eye and mind
Fixed on what we've left behind -
Them old times we used to hike
Out barefooted fer the crick,
'Long 'bout Aprile first - to pick
Out some "warmest" place to go
In a-swimmin' - Ooh! my-oh!
Wonder now we hadn't died!
Grate horseradish on my hide
Jes' a-thinkin' how cold then
That-'ere worter must 'a' ben!

Thinkin' back - W'y, goodness me!
I kin call their names and see
Every little tad I played
With, er fought, er was afraid
Of, and so made him the best
Friend I had of all the rest!

Thinkin' back, I even hear
Them a-callin', high and clear,
Up the crick-banks, where they seem
Still hid in there - like a dream -
And me still a-pantin' on
The green pathway they have gone!
Still they hide, by bend er ford -
Still they hide - but, thank the Lord,
(Thinkin' back, as I have said),
I hear laughin' on ahead!

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