A Barefoot Boy

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 pocket-book.
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