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The Corn

by Kate Cleary

When the merry April morn
Laughed the mad March winds to scorn,
In the swirl of sun and showers,
Were a million legions born;
Ranked in rippled rows of green,
With a dusky ridge between,
O’er the western world was seen,
The great army of the corn.

And when in May-time days,
The buttercups’ gold blaze
Firefly-like flashed o’er hill and hollow
And the pleasant prairie ways;
Each battalion from the sod.
Flags a-flutter and a-nod,
Nearer heaven, nearer God,
Crept to proffer perfect praise.

And when the June-time heat
Over all the land did fleet,
The melody of meadow larks
In mellow music beat
Martial measures, to beguile
The royal rank and file,
That kept growing all the while
To the sounds serene and sweet.

When the fierce sun of July
Rode relentlessly on high,
And in the creeks the water bright
All drop by drop ran dry;
And, as from a furnace mouth,
The hot winds of the south,
Racked the corn with cruel drouth,
It seemed that it would die.

But the nights benign and blue
Brought the blessed balm of dew,
And baptized the corn in beauty
Ever fresh and ever new;
Till in amber August light,
'Twas so golden that you might
Fancy Midas touched the bright,
Tender tassels it out-threw.

Now the sweet September’s here,
And the plover pipeth clear,
And each shattered sheath of satin
Holds a guerdon of good cheer;
And the corn all ripe and high,
Taller far than you or I,
Standeth spear-like to the sky,
In the sunset of the year!