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W. Riley Munday

W. Riley Munday--Riley Munday to family and friends--was a native Mississippian and a graduate of Mississippi College and the New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He was a Baptist minister, humorist, after-dinner speaker, husband, father, grandfather, and published poet. His two long-play humor records, "Smile, Southern Style" and "Seventh Sense" both went into at least four pressings. His poetry chapbook The Beginning Tree was published in 1971. During the 1960's Riley Munday took a strong stand against racism and, we believe, was ousted by his own congregation. We are trying to get more biographical information on Riley Munday from his family, which we will of course provide, if possible, at a later date.

De Plow Handles

Lawd, Iíse been plowiní since thirty-nine
Datís twenty-six yeahs aní moí
Aní dem ole plow handles am a gittiní mighty slick
Aní my hands gettiní powerful sore.

You told me to plow a straight furrow, Lawd,
Den you gimme a wobbly mule
Aní a busted plow wid a crookety point
Aní a bald head fit for a fool.

I ainít complaininí, you understand,
íCause you lent dis lease to me.
I cainít light no shuck wid my feet in the muck
Aní de gumbo up to mah knee.

Mercy--Lawd--datís all I asks
Aní great God, please understand
Iíll tighten my galluses and crack my calluses
íTill dem plow handles bust in my hand!

Sermon of the Pines

Lo, I have learned a lesson
From the tall pine trees,
From every straight and slender shaft.
I've gained from each of these

Day is Done

Father, the day is done;
I hear the night birds calling;
The gentle cloak of dusk
Is softly falling.

Oh God, my humble thanks
For joys and smiles and laughter.
I fain would linger here,
But night comes after.

The work I failed to do
Will be done on the morrow
By stronger hands than mine;
Therefore, no sorrow.

May what be done, be done
In Thy name's sake.
The night has come;
This is the prayer I make.

Blackjack Church

Oh, I was called to Blackjack Church
When I was four and twenty.
I found a few within the pew,
In the cemetery many.
Oh, I was called to Blackjack
Full many a moon ago,
But a churchly dog with asthma
Did ruin my sermons so,
My so-so sermons so.

Oh, he never missed a service
Until the day he died.
He sat in his pew beneath the few
And sneezed and coughed and cried.
Now that he's gone I find the bone
Of contention buried, too,
And anon, I yearn for that asthma bark
As I occupy the pew,
Don't you?
As I occupy the pew.

The Task

"What is your task?"
The Stranger asked
As I sat 'neath
A willow tree.

"I cobble souls
Some half--some whole
But all I do
For free."

"What can you do
For a worn out shoe
And a run down heel
like Me?"

"And what would the fare
For this repair
To my soul and heel
Cost me?"

"All gospel-shod
All glory to God--
And sit 'neath
A willow tree,

And the next Stranger
You meet,
Put God's shoes
On his feet--
And that will be
My fee."

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