Poetry Friday: The Barefoot Boy

Poetry Friday is hosted at Critique de Mr. Chompchomp today.

I posted this a couple of years ago, but it’s once again “boyhood’s time of June,” and with three boys, I just couldn’t resist. I love this poem. These are only two of the five stanzas.

barefoot-boy.jpg

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art,—the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye,—
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

Oh for boyhood’s time of June,
Crowding years in one brief moon,
When all things I heard or saw,
Me, their master, waited for.
I was rich in flowers and trees,
Humming-birds and honey-bees;
For my sport the squirrel played,
Plied the snouted mole his spade;
For my taste the blackberry cone
Purpled over hedge and stone;
Laughed the brook for my delight
Through the day and through the night,
Whispering at the garden wall,
Talked with me from fall to fall;
Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,
Mine the walnut slopes beyond,
Mine, on bending orchard trees,
Apples of Hesperides!
Still as my horizon grew,
Larger grew my riches too;
All the world I saw or knew
Seemed a complex Chinese toy,
Fashioned for a barefoot boy!

From The Barefoot Boy by John Greenleaf Whittier (1855)

The picture is Boy and Dog in Nature by Eugene Iverd, from AllPosters.com.

3 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Barefoot Boy

  1. Pingback: Friday’s Fave Five « Stray Thoughts

  2. This is actually one of MY favorite poems of childhood! I used to have it hanging on my wall beside of my barefoot Derek pulling a wagon up our back hill! I LOOOOOOVE it!

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