A barefoot boy! I mark him at his play —
For May is here once more, and so is he, —
His dusty trousers, rolled half to the knee,
And his bare ankles grimy, too, as they:
Cross-hatchings of the nettle, in array
Of feverish stripes, hint vividly to me
Of woody pathways winding endlessly
Along the creek, where even yesterday
He plunged his shrinking body — gasped and shook —
Yet called the water “warm,” with never lack
Of joy. And so, half enviously I look
Upon this graceless barefoot and his track, —
His toe stubbed — ay, his big toe-nail knocked back
Like unto the clasp of an old pocketbook.

Analysis, meaning and summary of James Whitcomb Riley's poem A Barefoot Boy

1 Comment

  1. MICKEY W. MILLER says:

    I READ THIS IN JR. HIGH , 9 TH.GRADE , AND SOUNDED LIKE MYSELF. I AM 70 NOW , AND I WAS 16 AT THE TIME. THANK YOU!

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