The Rain-Crow, by Madison Cawein

I

  Can freckled August,—drowsing warm and blond
    Beside a wheat-shock in the white-topped mead,
  In her hot hair the yellow daisies wound,—
    O bird of rain, lend aught but sleepy heed
    To thee? when no plumed weed, no feathered seed
  Blows by her; and no ripple breaks the pond,
    That gleams like flint within its rim of grasses,
    Through which the dragonfly forever passes
      Like splintered diamond.

II

  Drouth weights the trees; and from the farmhouse eaves
    The locust, pulse-beat of the summer day,
  Throbs; and the lane, that shambles under leaves
    Limp with the heat—a league of rutty way—
    Is lost in dust; and sultry scents of hay
  Breathe from the panting meadows heaped with sheaves—
    Now, now, O bird, what hint is there of rain,
    In thirsty meadow or on burning plain,
      That thy keen eye perceives?

III

  But thou art right. Thou prophesiest true.
    For hardly hast thou ceased thy forecasting,
  When, up the western fierceness of scorched blue,
    Great water-carrier winds their buckets bring
    Brimming with freshness. How their dippers ring
  And flash and rumble! lavishing large dew
    On corn and forest land, that, streaming wet,
    Their hilly backs against the downpour set,
      Like giants, loom in view.

IV

  The butterfly, safe under leaf and flower,
    Has found a roof, knowing how true thou art;
  The bumblebee, within the last half-hour,
    Has ceased to hug the honey to its heart;
    While in the barnyard, under shed and cart,
  Brood-hens have housed.—But I, who scorned thy power,
    Barometer of birds,—like August there,—
    Beneath a beech, dripping from foot to hair,
      Like some drenched truant, cower.