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Saturday, October 17, 2020

That Hoosier Poet

 “It is no use to grumble and complain; It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain - Why, rain's my choice.” – James Whitcomb Riley


Born in Indiana on Oct. 7, 1849, Riley was one of the nation’s most popular late-19th century poets and also a well-known journalist and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as both the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry.  The author of some 1,000 poems, he often is credited with creating America’s “Midwestern” cultural identity and literary community.


 For Saturday’s Poem, here is Riley’s,


Plain Sermons

I saw a man--and envied him beside--
Because of this world's goods he had great store;
But even as I envied him, he died,
And left me envious of him no more.

I saw another man--and envied still--
Because he was content with frugal lot;
But as I envied him, the rich man's will
Bequeathed him all, and envy I forgot.

Yet still another man I saw, and he
I envied for a calm and tranquil mind
That nothing fretted in the least degree--
Until, alas! I found that he was blind.

What vanity is envy! for I find
I have been rich in dross of thought, and poor
In that I was a fool, and lastly blind
For never having seen myself before!


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