A poem by Hattie Howard

The morning sun rose bright and fair
Upon a lovely village where
Prosperity abounded,
And ceaseless hum of industry
In lines of friendly rivalry
From day to day resounded.

Its shaded avenues were wide,
And closely bordered either side
With cottages or mansions,
Or marked by blocks of masonry
That might defy a century
To loosen from their stanchions.

Its peaceful dwellers daily vied
To make this spot, with anxious pride,
A Paradise of beauty,
Recounted its attractions o'er,
And its adornment held no more
A pleasure than a duty.

But, ere the daylight passed away,
That hamlet fair in ruins lay,
Its hapless people scattered
Like playthings, at the cyclone's will,
And scarce remained one domicile
Its fury had not shattered.

Few moments of the tempest's wrath
Sufficed to mark one dreadful path
With scenes of devastation;
While over piles of wild d├ębris
Rose shrieks of dying agony
Above the desolation.

Oh, mystery! who can understand
Why, sudden, from God's mighty hand
Destructive bolts of power
Without discrimination strike
The evil and the good alike -
As in that dreadful hour!

Alas for aching hearts that wait
Today in homes made desolate
By one sharp blow appalling -
For all who kneel by altars lone,
And strive to say "Thy will be done,"
That awful day recalling!

We dare not question his decrees
Who seeth not as mortal sees,
Nor doubt his goodness even;
Nor let our hearts be dispossessed
Of faith that he disposeth best
All things in earth and Heaven.

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