RILEY

Down in the water-meadow Riley

Spread his wash on the bramble thorn

Sat, one foot in the moving water

Bare as the day that he was born

Straight was his curling whiskers

Brown his body as an old tree-limb

Blue his eyes as the sky above him

Watching him watch the fish swim

Four solid sticks for walls had Riley

His roof was a rusty piece of tin

As snug as a pickling bush

He watched the seasons in and out

He paid no rate, he paid no taxes,

His lamp was the moon hung in a tree

Though many ache and pain had Riley

He envied neither you nor me

Many friends from bush or burrow

To Riley's hand would run or fly

And soft he'd sing and sweet he'd whistle

Whatever the weather in the sky

Till one winter's morning Riley

From the meadow vanished clean

Gone was rusty tin. The timber

As old Riley had never been