Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | February 16, 2010

Ballad of the Rain.

Ballad of the Rain.

James W. Foley. Prairie Breezes, 1905.


PUDDLES and pools in the village street,
Dripping eaves, where the swallows hide;
The splash and splash of horses’ feet
Down the muddy lane, and the trees beside,
Sodden and soaked till the raindrops fall,
Like tears, and the twigs with jewels set
Of limpid water, and over all
A haze of mist, like a cloak all wet.

Under the boughs of the great oak tree
The glistening bulks of the huddled kine,
Driven from the pasture and rhythmically
Munching their cuds, and their broad backs shine,
Drenched and matted with pelting rain.
Plaintively sounding a lowing wail;
A passing team in the muddy lane
And a muffled and melancholy hail.

Blinding sheets of the driven rain;
Mist over hollow and plain and hill;
Splashing drops on the misted pane
That trickle down to the window sill;
Beaten fowls, with their ruffled crests,
Crowding close to the sheltering wall;
Dripping orchards and sodden nests,
With mist like a wet cloak over all.

The herdsman lowers his broad hat brim
To a sheltering slant, and the raindrops fall
From the beaded edge of the lowered rim
To the oilskin coat that envelopes all
His length; the guiding collie stops
From gathering in the grazing flocks
To shake from his sides the glistening drops
That mat the mass of his silken locks.

The eave spout gushes its frothy streams,
Whence the rain barrel fills and overflows
Its sides, and the slate roof blacker gleams
Through the murk and mist; the housewife goes
From room to room, lest the windows be
Unshut, and peers through the sodden pall
Without, and the rain beats endlessly,
With mist like a wet cloak over all.

Sullen and sodden and soaked and splashed
With pelting drops lies the distant field;
The roads lie heavy, and wet steeds, dashed
With mud, where a carriage, muddy-wheeled,
Rolls down the road, and the drear day long
The weeping clouds no comfort hold.
The pelting rain dins a sullen song
And the day is gloomy, gray, and cold.