Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FABLE OF CLOUD-LAND, by ALICE CARY

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A FABLE OF CLOUD-LAND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Two clouds in the early morning
Last Line: As the cloud did in the sea.
Subject(s): Clouds

TWO clouds in the early morning
Came sailing up the sky --
'T was summer, and the meadow-lands
Were brown and baked and dry.

And the higher cloud was large and black,
And of a scornful mind,
And he sailed as though he turned his back
On the smaller one behind.

At length, in a voice of thunder,
He said to his mate so small,
"If I wasn't a bigger cloud than you,
I wouldn't be one at all!"

And the little cloud that held her place
So low along the sky,
Grew red, then purple, in the face,
And then she began to cry!

And the great cloud thundered out again
As loud as loud could be,
"Lag lowly still, and cry if you will,
I'm going to go to sea!

"The land don't give me back a smile,
I will leave it to the sun,
And will show you something worth your while,
Before the day is done!"

So off he ran, without a stop,
Upon his sea voyage bent,
And he never shed a single drop
On the dry land as he went.

And directly came a rumble
Along the air so dim;
And then a crash, and then a dash,
And the sea had swallowed him!

"I don't make any stir at all,"
Said the little cloud, with a sigh,
And her tears began like rain to fall
On the meadows parched and dry.

And over the rye and the barley
They fell and fell all day,
And soft and sweet on the fields of wheat,
Till she wept her heart away.

And the bean-flowers and the buck-wheat,
They scented all the air,
And in the time of the harvest
There was bread enough and to spare.

I know a man like that great cloud
As much as he can live,
And he gives his alms with thunder-cloud
Where there is no need to give.

And I know a woman who doth keep
Where praise comes not at all,
Like the modest cloud that could but weep
Because she was so small.

The name of the one the poor will bless
When her day shall cease to be,
And the other will fall as profitless
As the cloud did in the sea.

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