Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1549. The Rain-Crow
By Madison Cawein
CAN freckled Auguest,—drowsing warm and blonde
  Beside a wheat-shock in the white-topped mead,
In her hot hair the oxeyed daisies wound,—
  O bird of rain, lend aught but sleepy heed
  To thee? when no plumed weed, no feather’d seed        5
Blows by her; and no ripple breaks the pond,
  That gleams like flint between its rim of grasses,
  Through which the dragonfly forever passes
        Like splintered diamond.
Drouth weights the trees, and from the farmhouse eaves        10
  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.        15
  Now, now, O bird, what hint is there of rain,
  In thirsty heaven or on burning plain,
        That thy keen eye perceives?
But thou art right. Thou prophesiest true.
  For hardly hast thou ceased thy forecasting,        20
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 dark dew
  On corn and forestland, that, streaming wet,        25
  Their hilly backs against the downpour set,
        Like giants vague in view.
The butterfly, safe under leaf and flower,
  Has found a roof, knowing how true thou art;
The bumble-bee, within the last half-hour,        30
  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 the birds,—like August there,—
  Beneath a beech, dripping from foot to hair,        35
        Like some drenched truant, cower.


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