A Rainy Day.

A poem by Hattie Howard

Oh, what a blessed interval
A rainy day may be!
No lightning flash nor tempest roar,
But one incessant, steady pour
Of dripping melody;
When from their sheltering retreat
Go not with voluntary feet
The storm-beleaguered family,
Nor bird nor animal.

When business takes a little lull,
And gives the merchantman
A chance to seek domestic scenes,
To interview the magazines,
Convoke his growing clan,
The boys and girls almost unknown,
And get acquainted with his own;
As well the household budget scan,
Or write a canticle.

When farmer John ransacks the barn,
Hunts up the harness old -
Nigh twenty years since it was new -
Puts in an extra thong or two,
And hopes the thing will hold
Without that missing martingale
That bothered Dobbin, head and tail,
He, gentle equine, safe controlled
But by a twist of yarn.

When busy fingers may provide
A savory repast
To whet the languid appetite,
And give to eating a delight
Unknown since seasons past;
Avaunt, ill-cookery! whose ranks
Develop dull dyspeptic cranks
Who, forced to diet or to fast,
Ergo, have dined and died.

It is a day of rummaging,
The closets to explore;
To take down from the dusty shelves
The books - that never read themselves -
And turning pages o'er
Discover therein safely laid
The bills forgot and never paid -
Somehow that of the corner store
Such dunning memories bring.

It gives a chance to liquidate
Epistolary debts;
To write in humble penitence
Acknowledging the negligence,
The sin that so besets,
And cheer the hearts that hold us dear,
Who've known and loved us many a year -
Back to the days of pantalets
And swinging on the gate.

It gives occasion to repair
Unlucky circumstance;
To intercept the ragged ends,
And for arrears to make amends
By mending hose and pants;
The romping young ones to re-dress
Without those signs of hole-y-ness
That so bespeak the mendicants
By every rip and tear.

It is a time to gather round
The old piano grand,
Its dulcet harmonies unstirred
Since Lucy sang so like a bird,
And played with graceful hand;
Like Lucy's voice in pathos sweet
Repeating softly "Shall we meet?"
Is only in the heavenly land
Such clear soprano sound.

It is a time for happy chat
En cercle tête-à-tête;
Discuss the doings of the day,
The club, the sermon, or the play,
Affairs of church and state;
Fond reminiscence to explore
The pleasant episodes of yore,
And so till raindrops all abate
As erst on Ararat.

Ah, yes, a rainy day may be
A blessed interval!
A little halt for introspect,
A little moment to reflect
On life's discrepancy -
Our puny stint so poorly done,
The larger duties scarce begun -
And so may conscience culpable
Suggest a remedy.

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