Madison Julius Cawein

Before the Rain

BEFORE the rain, low in the obscure east,
         Weak and morose the moon hung, sickly gray; 
Around its disc the storm mists, cracked and creased,
         Wove an enormous web, wherein it lay 
         Like some white spider hungry for its prey. 
Vindictive looked the scowling firmament,
         In which each star, that flashed a dagger ray, 
Seemed filled with malice of some dark intent.
The marsh-frog croaked; and underneath the stone
         The peevish cricket raised a creaking cry.

Within the world these sounds were heard alone,
         Save when the ruffian wind swept from the sky, 
         Making each tree like some sad spirit sigh; 
Or shook the clumsy beetle from its weed,
         That, in the drowsy darkness, bungling by, 
Sharded the silence with its feverish speed.

Slowly the tempest gathered. Hours passed
         Before was heard the thunder's sullen drum 
Rumbling night's hollow; and the Earth at last,
         Restless with waiting,--like a woman, dumb 
         With doubting of the love that should have clomb 
Her casement hours ago,---avowed again,
         'Mid protestations, joy that he had come. 
And all night long I heard the Heavens explain. 

English Poetry - E-mail