James Whitcomb Riley

1849-1916

  Poet James Whitcomb Riley was born October 7, 1849 in the town of Greenfield, Indiana. James was the third of six children. He was influenced a little later in his life in his interest in poetry by his uncle Martin Riley. When he was younger his mother Elizabeth Marine Riley taught him how to read and write before sending him to the local community school in 1852. James found school quite difficult and was frequently getting into trouble. Later in 1869 James graduated the eight grade at age 20. His education was a reason for his success in writing because his work is written in the language common people could understand.

  James Whitcomb was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet". His poems were mainly humorous or sentimental. Riley began his career writing verses as a sign maker and submitting poetry to newspapers. He then later had later successive jobs as Indiana newspaper publisher during the 1870's.

A Christmas Memory

Pa he bringed me here to stay
'Til my Ma she's well.--An' nen
He's go' hitch up, Chris'mus-day,
An' come take me back again
Wher' my Ma's at! Won't I be
Tickled when he comes fer me!

My Ma an' my A'nty they
'Uz each-uvver's sisters. Pa--
A'nty telled me, th' other day,--
He comed here an' married Ma....
A'nty said nen, 'Go run play,
I must work now!' ... An' I saw,
When she turn' her face away,
She 'uz cryin'.--An' nen I
'Tend-like I 'run play'--an' cry.

This-here house o' A'nty's wher'
They 'uz borned--my Ma an' her!--
An' her Ma 'uz my Ma's Ma,
An' her Pa 'uz my Ma's Pa--

Ain't that funny?--An' they're dead:
An' this-here's 'th' ole Homestead.'--
An' my A'nty said, an' cried,
It's mine, too, ef my Ma died--
Don't know what she mean--'cause my
Ma she's nuvver go' to die!

When Pa bringed me here 't 'uz night--
'Way dark night! An' A'nty spread
Me a piece--an' light the light
An' say I must go to bed.--
I cry not to---but Pa said,
'Be good boy now, like you telled
Mommy 'at you're go' to be!'
An', when he 'uz kissin' me
My good night, his cheeks' all wet
An' taste salty.--An' he held
Wite close to me an' rocked some
An' langhed-like--'til A'nty come
Git me while he's rockin' yet.

A'nty he'p me, 'til I be
Purt'-nigh strip-pud--nen hug me
In bofe arms an' lif' me 'way
Up in her high bed--an' pray
Wiv me,--'bout my Ma--an' Pa--
An' ole Santy Claus--an' Sleigh--
An' Reindeers an' little Drum--
Yes, an' Picture-books, 'Tom Thumb,'
An' 'Three Bears,' an' ole 'Fee-Faw'--

Yes, an' 'Tweedle-Dee' an' 'Dum,'
An' 'White Knight' an' 'Squidjicum,'
An' most things you ever saw!--
An' when A'nty kissed me, she
'Uz all cryin' over me!

Don't want Santy Claus--ner things
Any kind he ever brings!--
Don't want A'nty!--Don't want Pa!--
I ist only want my Ma!  

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-christmas-memory/