The Rain Song

Bro. Simmons
“Walk right in. Brother Wilson—how you feelin’ today?”

Bro. Wilson
“Jes mod’ rate. Brother Simmons, but den I ginnerly feels dat way.”

Bro. Simmons
“Here’s White an’ Black an’ Brown an’ Green; how’s all you gent’mens been?”

Bro. White
“My health is good but my bus’ness slack.”

Bro. Black
“I’se been suff’rin’ lots wid pains in my back.”

Bro. Brown
“My ole ’ooman’s sick, but I’se alright— ”

Bro. Green
“Yes, I went aftuh Doctuh fuh her ’tuther night— ”

Bro. Simmons
“Here’s Sandy Turner, as I live!”

Bro. Turner
“Yes, I didn’ ’spect to git here—but here I is!”

Bro. Simmons
“Now, gent’mens, make yo’selves to home,
Dare’s nothin’ to fear—my ole ’ooman’s gone—
My stars; da weather’s pow’ful warm—
I wouldn’ be s’prised ef we had a storm.”

Bro. Brown
“No, Brother Simmons, we kin safely say—
’Tain’t gwine to be no storm today
Kase here am facts dat’s mighty plain
An’ any time you sees ’em you kin look fuh rain:
Any time you hears da cheers an’ tables crack
An’ da folks wid rheumatics—dare j’ints is on da rack— ”

“Lookout fuh rain, rain rain.

“When da ducks quack loud an’ da peacocks cry,
An’ da far off hills seems to be right nigh,
Prepare fuh rain, rain, rain!

“When da ole cat on da hearth wid her velvet paws
’Gins to wipin’ over her whiskered jaws,
Sho’ sign o’ rain, rain, rain!

“When da frog’s done changed his yaller vest.
An’ in his brown suit he is dressed,
Mo’ rain, an’ still mo’ rain!

“When you notice da air it stan’s stock still,
An’ da blackbird’s voice it gits so awful shrill,
Dat am da time fuh rain.

“When yo’ dog quits bones an’ begins to fas’,
An’ when you see him eatin’; he’s eatin’ grass:
Shoes’, trues’, cert’nes’ sign ob rain!”

“No, Brother Simmons, we kin safely say,
’Tain’t gwine tuh be no rain today,
Kase da sut ain’t failin’ an’ da dogs ain’t sleep,
An’ you ain’t seen no spiders fum dare cobwebs creep;
Las’ night da sun went bright to bed,
An’ da moon ain’t nevah once been seen to hang her head;
If you’se watched all dis, den you kin safely say,
Dat dare ain’t a-gwine to be no rain today.”


From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922), edited by James Weldon Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.