James Whitcomb Riley

A Sudden Shower

Barefooted boys scud up the street

Or skurry under sheltering sheds;

And school-girl faces, pale and sweet,

Gleam from the shawls about their heads.

Doors bang; and mother-voices call

From alien homes; and rusty gates

Are slammed; and high above it all,

The thunder grim reverberates.

And then, abrupt—the rain! the rain!;

The earth lies gasping; and the eyes

Behind the streaming window-pane

Smile at the trouble of the skies.

The highway smokes; sharp echoes ring;

The cattle bawl and cow-bells clank;

And into town comes galloping

The farmer's horse, with steaming flank.

The swallow dips beneath the eaves

And flirts his plumes and folds his wings;

And under the Catawba leaves

The caterpillar curls and clings.

The bumblebee is pelted down

The wet stem of the hollyhock;

And sullenly, in spattered brown,

The cricket leaps the garden walk.

Within, the baby claps his hands

And crows with rapture strange and vague;

Without, beneath the rose-bush stands

A dripping rooster on one leg.