Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Never since he first came to the church till that hour
Had the preacher held forth with such vigour and power,
As with well-chosen words, and a wealth of detail,
He told how Elijah has triumphed o'er Baal.

How on Carmel, God-sent, he had taken his stand;
Till the cloud from the sea rose, the size of a hand,
Till he said, "Go, tell Ahab go down to the plain,
And hake haste, there are sound of abundance of rain".

Long and learnedly he dwelt on man's guilt since the fall,
Want of faith, unbelief, chief and blackest of all;
Had not Christ made it plain we are sure to receive
All the blessings we ask if we "only believe".

Then the grand choir sung out in its most approved style,
"Every prospect is pleasing, man only is vile;"
Then the preacher's still voice hushed the tumult again,
As he earnestly prayed that the land might have rain.

But it came not; a day was appointed for prayer
In the church: all the good folks were hastening there.
The sun glared down red, brook and burn had run dry,
And there was not a wisp of a cloud in the sky.

Unnoticed, if seen, by that church-going throng
A wee hunchback lassie walked briskly along,
While others had sunshades, the day was so warm,
She'd a big umbrella tucked under her arm.

The preacher and wife passed the girl on the way,
He with gold-headed cane, she with parasol gay;
"Poor girl," the good lady was heard to declare,
"How silly",but then she is scarcely all there.

"Oh, you never can tell what these creatures will do",
Thought the little hunch-back looking up at the two;
With a look half of pity, half sorrow, and pain,
"My, but these two will catch it when God sends the rain".

God sent it that day, in full measure it fell,
As the wee hunchback's big umbrella could tell.
The preacher, his lady, and all who were there,
Got as much as they'd prayed for with something to spare.

The pulpit did all that a pulpit might d,
There were choice thoughts expressed, earnest, solemn and true;
But I question if any but God ever knew
Of that one prayer in faith those up from the pew.
Take your big umbrellas, the lesson is plain
Like the wee hunchback girl, when you're praying for rain.

Inspector Aitken

It seems likely this was Inspector Aitken who served with the G. & S. W. Railway, Greenock at the end of the nineteenth century. He had poems published in the Dundee Courier.

Have you got umbrella faith?

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