Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BALLADE OF THE COMING RAIN, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE BALLADE OF THE COMING RAIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the morning swoons in its highest heat
Last Line: O then is the time to look for rain.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Rain


WHEN the morning swoons in its highest heat,
And the sunshine dims, and no dark shade
Streaks the dust of the dazzling street,
And the long straw splits in the lemonade;
When the circus lags in a sad parade,
And the drum throbs dull as a pulse of pain,
And the breezeless flags hang limp and frayed --
O then is the time to look for rain.

When the man on the watering-cart bumps by,
Trilling the air of an old fife-tune,
With a dull, soiled smile, and one shut eye,
Lost in a dream of the afternoon;
When the awning sags like a lank balloon,
And a thick sweat stands on the window-pane,
And a five-cent fan is a priceless boon --
O then is the time to look for rain.

When the goldfish tank is a grimy gray,
And the dummy stands at the clothing-store
With a cap pulled on in a rakish way,
And a rubber-coat with the 'hind before;
When the man in the barber chair flops o'er
And the chin he wags has a telltale stain,
And the bootblack lurks at the open door --
O then is the time to look for rain.





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