When We First Played "Show"

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Wasn't it a good time,
Long Time Ago -
When we all were little tads
And first played "Show"! -
When every newer day
Wore as bright a glow
As the ones we laughed away -
Long Time Ago!

Calf was in the back-lot;
Clover in the red;
Bluebird in the pear-tree;
Pigeons on the shed;
Tom a-chargin' twenty pins
At the barn; and Dan
Spraddled out just like "The

Me and Bub and Rusty,
Eck and Dunk and Sid,
'Tumblin' on the sawdust
Like the A-rabs did;
Jamesy on the slack-rope
In a wild retreat,
Grappling back, to start again -
When he chalked his feet!

Wasn't Eck a wonder,
In his stocking-tights?

Wasn't Dunk - his leaping lion -
Chief of all delights!
Yes, and wasn't "Little Mack"
Boss of all the Show, -
Both Old Clown and Candy-Butcher -
Long Time Ago!

Sid the Bareback-Rider;
And - oh-me-oh-my! -
Bub, the spruce Ring-master,
Stepping round so spry! -
In his little waist-and-trousers
All made in one,
Was there a prouder youngster
Under the sun!

And NOW - who will tell me, -
Where are they all?
Dunk's a sanatorium doctor,
Up at Waterfall;
Sid's a city street-contractor;
Tom has fifty clerks;
And Jamesy he's the "Iron Magnate"
Of "The Hecla Works."

And Bub's old and bald now,
Yet still he hangs on, -
Dan and Eck and "Little Mack,"
Long, long gone!
But wasn't it a good time,
Long Time Ago -
When we all were little tads
And first played "Show"!

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'When We First Played "Show"' by James Whitcomb Riley

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy