Where the Pelican Builds
and Other Poems

In Time of Drought

Mary Hannay Foott

The river of God is full of water.

THE RUSHES are black by the river bed,
    And the sheep and the cattle stand
Wistful-eyed,—where the waters were,—
    In a waste of gravel and sand;
Or pass o’er their dying and dead to slake
    Their thirst at the slimy pool.
Shall they pine and perish in pangs of drought
    While Thy river, O God, is full.

The fields are furrowed, the seed is sown,
    But no dews from the heavens are shed;
And where shall the grain for the harvest be—?
    And how shall the poor be fed?
In waterless gullies they winnow the earth,
    New-turned by the miner’s tool;
And the way-farer faints ’neath his lightened load,1
    Yet the river of God is full.

For us, O Father, from tropic seas,
    Let the clouds be filled that shed
Rough rains upon Andes’ eastward slope,—
    Soft snows on Himàleh’s head.
Freight for us as for others thy dark-winged fleet,
    That soon by the waters cool,
We may say with gladness,—“Our need was great,
    But the river of God was full!”

1.    During a drought travellers sometimes have to throw away even their blankets and superfluous clothing.    [back]

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