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Out to Old Aunt Mary's.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 1. Whom must we imagine to stanza 5? What did Aunt
be writing this story? To Mary give them to eat?
6. Explain “ the cream in a 2. What is the first brother golden languor slept."
writing about? Tell what 7. In stanza 11 what three he is writing by reading things do the waters do? aloud the story. Try to 8. Tell whether you ever went see all the pictures of what| on such a visit to your the boys did just as if you grandmother or an aunt were the brother who is like Old Aunt Mary, and, writing, and read it to the if so, what happened durclass as if you were actually ing your visit.
telling the story to them. 9. What is the meaning of 3. What do the boys do in “Memory now is on her
stanza 1? In stanza 2? knees "?
11. What was the most im- | 12. What did Aunt Mary whis
portant message in the per as she was dying ?
James Whitcomb Riley, the beloved American poet, was born at Greenfield, Indiana, in 1853. As a boy he cared little for the study of books, but his mind absorbed nature and the life around him as a basis for the future poems that have made his name a household word in America. Mr. Riley wrote many volumes of poems. His poems are held in the memories of millions of Americans. He had a great love for children, and wrote many sweet poems about them and for them. He died at Indianapolis in 1916.
Where is the heart that doth not keep,
Within its inmost core,
ELLEN C. HOWARTH
When time who steals our years away
Shall steal our pleasures too,
Oh, how cruelly sweet are the echoes that start
WHEN THE COWS COME HOME
AGNES E. MITCHELL
If you have ever heard the “ko-kling, ko-klang, koklinglelingle ” of cowbells as “the cows are coming home,” you will surely enjoy this fine poem.
Agnes E. Mitchell, who wrote this poem, tries to make the words sound exactly like the sound of the cowbells as the cows are coming home from the pasture at milking time. If you try, you can tell from the sound of the bells when the cows stop by the side of the path to get one more bite of tender grass.
Now try to hear the cowbells. Read the first stanza silently and very slowly. Can you hear the cowbells? They are very faint, for the cows are now in a little ravine or “ dingle,” and the sound is shut out from us. Can you hear their “ko-kling, koklany, koklinglelingle "" ?
Now the cows come up on the hill, and the sound is clearer. The bells go,—“ko-kling, ko-klang, koklinglelingle.”
When you grow older, you will know how the sound of the cowbells brings back childhood days as told in the last four lines of the first stanza.
Now read each stanza in its turn silently and slowly, stopping and shutting your eyes and trying to hear the bells and to see whether they sound like the words. Can you see the cows and hear the bells now? If not, you are not reading the story; you are only seeing the print.
Can you see the color of the air as the poet describes it? Can you see the maples? The sinking sun ?
Watch the cows as they come on in stanza 4, and be sure to see what is described in each line. Read slowly.
See each cow as she is named. Note how they step so lazily among the lilies of the stream.
Think hard to find the meanings of the last four lines of each stanza.
Can you hear the cows loo-oo, and moo-oo in stanza 5?
Can you see the evening star above the poplars and the silent mill?
Now you let down the bars and let the cows go into the barnyard, one by one, their hoofs clicking against the lowest bar. Can you hear them?
But the last four lines of the last stanza mean also the letting down of other bars than those of the barnyard. Can we, when far away, let down Memory's bars, and let into our minds the memory of the cowbells, the coming home of the cows, and the dear old times? Are you not doing this as you bring back to memory, while you are reading this, the sound of cowbells that you have heard and the cows that you have seen “coming home”?
Study carefully the meanings of the following words before you read the poem :
dingle: a small hidden ravine. / plant with single blue or white chimings: the soft mellow sound flowers.
of church bells ringing a checkered stream: a stream simple tune.
I whose surface is checkered or wordless psalm: the cowbells' cross-barred by shadows.
joyous jingle likened to a song the crescent of the silver queen:
of praise without words. the new moon. periwinkle: a small trailing Venus: the evening star.