African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Countee Cullen, "Night Rain" (1925)

I wake to the sound of a soft, low patter
That comes like sudden news,
Or like the slow, uncadenced clatter
Of well-filled wooden shoes.

I know I have not waked for long,
That I shall dream again,
that God has sent a slumber song
Of dew and drowsy rain.

I hear it rush the willows through,
And strike the garden gate;
Far off a love bird's plaintive coo
Is answered of its mate.

The night rain works a subtle charm
Day showers never know;
It make me burrow deep and warm
Beneath my sheets of snow.

It brims the pansy's eager cup,
It dives to the oak's dank roots,
Inquisitive, meanders up,
And climbs the newest shoots.

It drips a melancholy tune,
As plunging fierce and deep,
It scurries wild across the moon
To steep my eyes in sleep. 

Published in The Crisis, February 1925

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