The day was hot and the day was dumb,
Save for cricket’s chirr or the bee’s low hum,
Not a bird was seen or a butterfly,
And ever till noon was over, the sun
Glared down with a yellow and terrible eye;
Glared down in the woods, where the breathless boughs
Hung heavy and faint in a languid drowse,
And the ferns were curling with thirst and heat;
Glared down on the fields where the sleepy cows
Stood munching the grasses, dry and sweet.
Then a single cloud rose up in the west,
With a base of gray and a white, white crest;
It rose and it spread a mighty wing.
And swooped at the sun, though he did his best
And struggled and fought like a wounded thing.
And the woods awoke, and the sleepers heard,
Each heavily hanging leaflet stirred
With a little expectant quiver and thrill,
As the cloud bent over and uttered a word,–
One volleying, rolling syllable.
And once and again came the deep, low tone
Which only to thunder’s lips is known,
And the earth held up her fearless face
And listened as if to a signal blown,–
A signal-trump in some heavenly place.
The trumpet of God, obeyed on high,
His signal to open the granary
And send forth his heavily loaded wains
Rambling and roaring down the sky
And scattering the blessed, long-harvested rains.