The Night-Rain

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Tattered, in ragged raiment of the rain,
The Night arrives. Outside the window there
He stands and, streaming, taps upon the pane;
Or, crouching down beside the cellar-stair,
Letting his hat-brim drain,
Mutters, black-gazing through his trickling hair.

Then on the roof with cautious feet he treads,
Whispering a word into the windy flues;.
And all the house, huddling itsflowerbeds,
Looks, dark of face, as if it heard strange news,
Hugging the musky heads
Of all its roses to its sides of ooze.

Now in the garden, with a glowworm lamp,
Night searches, letting his black mantle pour;
Treading the poppies down with heavy tramp,
Thudding the apple, sodden to its core,
Into the dripping damp,
From boughs the wet loads, dragging more and more.

Then at the barn he fumbles, gropes his way,
Through splashing pools; and, seeping, enters in
The stalls and creeps among the bedding hay,
Burying him moistly to his clammy chin,
While near him, brown and gray,
The dozing cattle make a drowsy din.

The martin-box, poled high above the gate,
He pushes till the fluttering fledglings wake,
Wondering what bird it is that comes so late:
Then to the henhouse door he gives a shake;
Or, like a thief await,
Leans listening softly with black heart aquake.

Then with his ragged cloak flung back he goes,
With flickering lantern, where the stream o'erflowed,
Breathing wet scents of wayside weed and.rose,
And guttural music of the frog and toad;
A firefly-light, that glows,
Green in his hand to guide him on his road.

And doffing then, upon the wooded hill,
His hat of cloud, a little while he stands,
Hearkening in silence to the leaping rill;
Then, stooping low, he lifts in azure hands
A great gold daffodil
The moon and pins it in his cloak's blown bands.

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