Here you will find the Long Poem Wash Lowry's Reminiscence of poet James Whitcomb Riley
And you're the poet of this concern? I've seed your name in print A dozen times, but I'll be dern I'd 'a' never 'a' took the hint O' the size you are--fer I'd pictured you A kind of a tallish man-- Dark-complected and sallor too, And on the consumpted plan. 'Stid o' that you're little and small, With a milk-and-water face-- 'Thout no snap in your eyes at all, Er nothin' to suit the case! Kind o'look like a--I don't know-- One o' these fair-ground chaps That runs a thingamajig to blow, Er a candy-stand perhaps. 'Ll I've allus thought that poetry Was a sort of a--some disease-- Fer I knowed a poet once, and he Was techy and hard to please, And moody-like, and kindo' sad And didn't seem to mix With other folks--like his health was bad, Er his liver out o' fix. Used to teach fer a livelihood-- There's folks in Pipe Crick yit Remembers him--and he was good At cipherin' I'll admit-- And posted up in G'ography But when it comes to tact, And gittin' along with the school, you see, He fizzled, and that's a fact! Boarded with us fer fourteen months And in all that time I'll say We never catched him a-sleepin' once Er idle a single day. But shucks! It made him worse and worse A-writin' rhymes and stuff, And the school committee used to furse 'At the school warn't good enough. He warn't as strict as he ought to been, And never was known to whip, Or even to keep a scholard in At work at his penmanship; 'Stid o' that he'd learn 'em notes, And have 'em every day, Spilin' hymns and a-splittin' th'oats With his 'Do-sol-fa-me-ra!' Tel finally it was jest agreed We'd have to let him go, And we all felt bad--we did indeed, When we come to tell him so; Fer I remember, he turned so white, And smiled so sad, somehow, I someway felt it wasn't right, And I'm shore it wasn't now! He hadn't no complaints at all-- He bid the school adieu, And all o' the scholards great and small Was mighty sorry too! And when he closed that afternoon They sung some lines that he Had writ a purpose, to some old tune That suited the case, you see. And then he lingered and delayed And wouldn't go away-- And shet himself in his room and stayed A-writin' from day to day; And kep' a-gittin' stranger still, And thinner all the time, You know, as any feller will On nothin' else but rhyme. He didn't seem adzactly right, Er like he was crossed in love, He'd work away night after night, And walk the floor above; We'd hear him read and talk, and sing So lonesome-like and low, My woman's cried like ever'thing-- 'Way in the night, you know. And when at last he tuck to bed He'd have his ink and pen; 'So's he could coat the muse' he said, 'He'd die contented then'; And jest before he past away He read with dyin' gaze The epitaph that stands to-day To show you where he lays. And ever sence then I've allus thought That poetry's some disease, And them like you that's got it ought To watch their q's and p's ; And leave the sweets of rhyme, to sup On the wholesome draughts of toil, And git your health recruited up By plowin' in rougher soil.