Voices of Rain



THE mountain world is very still to-day,
Shadowed, and hushed, and gray.
All yesterday a mad wind shrieking past
Harried the cañon’s silence old and vast,
Lashing the yellow grass in billows deep
Against the parching steep.
Hot glare of sunlight smote the walls that stand
Purple with pines heaven-high on either hand,
Hot glare of sunlight to the splendid blue
Where driven cloud-fleets flew.
Black cedars goaded clung against the edge
Of yonder granite ledge,
And far below where white-chafed waters run
The stinging gravel spun,
Whirled in the gusts that snapped the alder’s crest,
And crushed the willows cowering to the west.
But with the night came cloud, and rain, and rest. Hushed in the peace that held the whole world fast
Morning drew near at last,
With gray soft mist flung close on scaur and steep
Above the forest’s sleep ;
And murmur of a million rain-chords blent
In rhythms of content.
The air is sharp with fragrance strong as wine
From steeping sod and pine,
And yonder where the willow branches sway
A meadow-lark among their green and gray
Watches the clouds, and questions of the day.
There is a little grove beside the hill
Where aspens shake and thrill,
With silver stems beneath their glimmering green
Against the pines’ dark screen.
And all day long the rain unceasing weaves
Ripples of light among their tremulous leaves,
And all day long the moss against their feet,
Tufted, and starred, and sweet,
Flashes in flickering splendor with the crown
Of diamond drops swept down.
Through pillared arches of the forest aisles,
Sacred untrodden miles,
The voiceless throngs in this God’s temple dim
Bow to the rain’s soft hymn ;
Walls on whose pile nor axe nor hammer wrought
The Master-builder’s thought,
Unchiseled font and granite altar stair
Wait on the wordless prayer.
And overhead against a brooding sky
The priestly pine trees high
With lifted hands invoke on vale and crest
Infinitudes of rest.



Out of the hard-fought years,
Out of the aching grief, the want unfed,
An answer to thy tears
Wakes in the midnight by thy sleepless bed.
An answer very low,
Murmured in muffled cadence, hushed and slow,
Reiterant rhythms still
Rising and falling, soft on roof and sill,
Out of the losing strife,
Out of the desert where old worlds lie dead,
An answer to thy life
Stirs in the starless midnight by thy bed. Hast thou forgotten God Who gives the rain ?
Plenteous and merciful the long showers pour
On parching fields where dust and drouth were sore ;
Yet will thine eyes watch out the night again ?
Peace on the shadowed hills and sky is deep ;
Shall not thine heart be comforted with sleep
As earth is comforted and lulled of pain ?
Before thy prayer the heavens are brazen still,
Nor yet to cool thy thirst the fountains fill.
Nevertheless His word shall not be vain.
What hope had earth, gasping at yesternoon ?
What hope hast thou, whose comfort shall be soon ?
Are ye not in His hands for bliss or bane ?
To-morrow, where the upland fields lay black,
Thou shalt go forth and look on life come back ;
Harvest shall follow seedtime yet again.
To-morrow, where thy heart lay withering,
Fountains of love before His feet shall spring ;
Peace shall repay thee sevenfold for pain.
Hast thou forgotten God Who gives the rain ?
Mabel Earle.