O'Riley, The Rhymer

Copyright © 2001
by Jim C. Carpenter

O'Riley the Rhymer lived only to write,
Poems and verses and songs to delight,
From morning to sunset and into the night,
And oft till the cock was crowing.
Whenever his paper was touched by the pen,
He couldn't stop writing for hours on end,
And often the sunbeams slowly crept in,
While the lamp in his window was glowing

Sonnets and Ballads and poems befitting,
For Kings and Queens and royalty sitting,
Stories and journals and verses submitting
He worked his young life away.
Then in time he grew old, then older and older,
His body waxed weak as his spirit grew colder,
Bent at the waist and stooped at the shoulder,
But, he worked even harder each day.

Then one lonely night with his thoughts to impound him,
He knew the black curtain was falling around him.
He lay down his pen. . . and that's where they found him,
Lifeless and breathless and . . . dead.
So soon after dawn on the morrow's cold morning,
The grave diggers came without notice or warning,
The stone bearer came to assure his adorning,
And placed a small stone at his head.

Then came the wrecking ball, crushing his leavings,
Then came the dozer blade, piling his sheavings,
Then came the torch, to consume his achievings,
Leaving only these words to atone.
"Here with the paupers, our dearly departed,
One Mister O'Riley, unknown and uncharted,
No stock and no store, no knowledge imparted,
Now sleeps in the stillness, alone."

And now with his works, of a brilliance proclaiming,
And with all of his sonnets and poems acclaiming,
And with every last ballad and journal set flaming,
He rests in the silence . . . unknown.


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