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Riley Songs of Home

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There's a space for good to bloom inEvery heart of man or woman,—And however wild or human,Or however brimmed with gall,Never heart may beat without it;And the darkest heart to doubt itHas something good about itAfter all.



O the Lands of Where-Away!Tell us—tell us—where are they?Through the darkness and the dawnWe have journeyed on and on—From the cradle to the cross—From possession unto loss.—Seeking still, from day to day,For the Lands of Where-Away.When our baby-feet were firstPlanted where the daisies burst,And the greenest grasses grewIn the fields we wandered through,—On, with childish discontent,Ever on and on we went,Hoping still to pass, some day,O'er the verge of Where-Away.Roses laid their velvet lipsOn our own, with fragrant sips;But their kisses held us not,All their sweetness we forgot;—Though the brambles in our trackPlucked at us to hold us back—"Just ahead," we used to say,"Lie the Lands of Where-Away."Children at the pasture-bars,Through the dusk, like glimmering stars,Waved their hands that we should bideWith them over eventide;Down the dark their voices failedFalteringly, as they hailed,And died into yesterday—Night ahead and—Where-Away?Twining arms about us thrown—Warm caresses, all our own,Can but stay us for a spell—Love hath little new to tellTo the soul in need supreme,Aching ever with the dreamOf the endless bliss it mayFind in Lands of Where-Away!




Dreamer, say, will you dream for meA wild sweet dream of a foreign land,Whose border sips of a foaming seaWith lips of coral and silver sand;Where warm winds loll on the shady deeps,Or lave themselves in the tearful mistThe great wild wave of the breaker weepsO'er crags of opal and amethyst?Dreamer, say, will you dream a dreamOf tropic shades in the lands of shine,Where the lily leans o'er an amber streamThat flows like a rill of wasted wine,—Where the palm-trees, lifting their shields of green,Parry the shafts of the Indian sunWhose splintering vengeance falls betweenThe reeds below where the waters run?Dreamer, say, will you dream of loveThat lives in a land of sweet perfume,Where the stars drip down from the skies aboveIn molten spatters of bud and bloom?Where never the weary eyes are wet,And never a sob in the balmy air,And only the laugh of the paroquetteBreaks the sleep of the silence there?




They walk here with us, hand-in-hand;We gossip, knee-by-knee;They tell us all that they have planned—Of all their joys to be,—And, laughing, leave us: And, to-day,All desolate we cryAcross wide waves of voiceless graves—Good-by! Good-by! Good-by!


O the old trundle-bed where I slept when a boy!What canopied king might not covet the joy?The glory and peace of that slumber of mine,Like a long, gracious rest in the bosom divine:The quaint, homely couch, hidden close from the light,But daintily drawn from its hiding at night....