I used to think that clovers were somewhat ugly, but now they are one of my favorite flowers. I like their scent. I like how each head is covered with tiny individual flowers. I like their colors — their shades of red, purple, white, and yellow. I like the fact that James Whitcomb Riley has written a poem about them. (I do not, however, have any desire to die in a clover field.)


“The Clover”
James Whitcomb Riley1

Some sings of the lilly, and daisy, and rose,
And the pansies and pinks that the Summertime throws
In the green grassy lap of the medder that lays
Blinkin’ up at the skyes through the sunshiney days;
But what is the lilly and all of the rest
Of the flowers, to a man with a hart in his brest
That was dipped brimmin’ full of the honey and dew
Of the sweet clover-blossoms his babyhood knew?


I never set eyes on a clover-field now,
Er fool round a stable, er climb in the mow,
But my childhood comes back jest as clear and as plane
As the smell of the clover I’m sniffin’ again;
And I wunder away in a bare-footed dream,
Whare I tangle my toes in the blossoms that gleam
With the dew of the dawn of the morning of love
Ere it wept ore the graves that I’m weepin’ above.


And so I love clover—it seems like a part
Of the sacerdest sorrows and joys of my hart;
And wharever it blossoms, oh, thare let me bow
And thank the good God as I’m thankin’ Him now;
And I pray to Him still fer the stren’th when I die,
To go out in the clover and tell it good-bye,
And lovin’ly nestle my face in its bloom
While my soul slips away on a breth of purfume.



1 James Whitcomb Riley was an American poet, born in Greenfield, Indiana on October 7, 1849. His poems were popular and well-loved. Most of his poems are written in the nineteenth century Hoosier dialect. “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Raggedy Man” are two of his most famous poems. He died on July 23, 1916.

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