O queenly month of indolent repose!
I drink thy breath in sips of rare perfume,
As in thy downy lap of clover bloom,
I nestle like a drowsy child and doze
To lazy hours away. The zephyr throws
The shifting shuttle of the summer's loom
And waves a damask-work of gleam and gloom
Before the listless feet. The lily blows
A bugle call of fragrance o'er the glade;
And, wheeling into ranks with plume and spear,
Thy harvest armies gather on parade;
While, faint and far away, yet pure and clear.
A voice calls out of alien lands of shade:
All hail the Peerless Goddess of the Year!
-- James Whitcomb Riley
This poem always tumbles out of my Riley store when I move into the month of June.
One day in early June, several years ago, my sister and our spouses visited the American writer, poet and lecturer's grave site in Crown Point Cemetery, in Indianapolis.
Our entire family appreciates his dialect works and many of the same simple pleasures, as he once did.
The "Hoosier Poet" and his greatest influence, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in my opinion, were the best of the best.
Today is Memorial Day. Paul and I donned our walking shoes and visited Restlawn Cemetery, although, the visit was shorter than we would have liked, because of the extreme heat.
Paul's mother, stepfather and brother, "Billy," are buried there.
My mother and father, three of my siblings and our son, Paul Sartor Jr., lie at rest close by.
Dad lost his battle with cancer on June 7, 1994. He claimed Robert "Robbie" Burns, the Scotsman, as his favorite poet.
He often recited Burn's verses in language of the land, as written, that some may find difficult to understand.
Still my receptive ears and active mind were always eager to accept and assimilate, mentally.
He knew the works of Longfellow, Dickens and almost all of the famous female poets before and during his time.
James Whitcomb Riley's verses gave the old man many years of pleasurable reads and recitals. So much, the poet and his admirer had in common.
Few people that knew my father, the late, Hugh Lynch, the good old hometown country boy would ever think that he saw life, living, nature and beauty, as through the eyes of a poet.
I am so grateful that I follow, in that regard. It certainly has suited me just fine.
Dad always said that he loved the month of June best.
I reckon that is why he whistled so much while he worked his four-acre tract of land or ambled down a shadowy trail on one of his many nature walks at the end of an arduous day.
His story is certainly worthy of a colorful narration.
When I was a growing up, Dad insisted that we children help with the many chores around our place, no ifs, ands or buts about it.
And, believe me; we earned our keep, through laughter and tears, without complaints. Then, we grew up and moved on, leaving behind childhoods lived and well spent.
When we needed to do a little extra work or missed that whistle and a little bit of Riley and Longfellow, Burns or sweet Emily that brought a verse to his lips; we could be seen headed back down Elm Street toward home. When he sang a happy tune or recited good poetry; sparkles in his blue eyes dance to the rhythm of his music.
Finally, in 1987, after the house of my birth burned down, I moved back down here to the little blue house at the end of the road so that I could resume some of those chores, next door that I knew so well and lighten the load of my elderly parents through some of their darkest and difficult days.
Through it all, with God's help, I truly believe, without proof of words; I did.
Dad has been gone 18 years now. I think this is a befitting time for "June!"
And, "Little Orphan Annie, Do not feel left out, Dad loved you too! He kept the most precious words bottled in his heart!"
I can be reached at 446-4852 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.