I don’t know if this is a particularly good poem,but it’s certainly an educational one – if not in the way its author intended.
The idea that otherwise cruel nature would have little choice but to respond favorably to man’s determined labor was neither original nor entirely faith-based. Nineteenth century American climatologists had been propagating such a theory for several decades.
In other news, there were climatologists in the 19th century. Who knew?
The most famous expression came from Charles Wilber, a land speculator and writer who enthusiastically promoted the American West as the final frontier, the promised land, the cure for what ails you, and generally the bestest bestiest thing you could imagine ever – even if, upon first glance, parts of it seemed pretty darn barren:
Suppose (an army of frontier farmers) 50 miles, in width… could acting in concert, turn over the prairie sod, and after deep plowing and receiving the rain and moisture, present a new surface of green growing crops instead of dry, hard baked earth covered with sparse buffalo grass. No one can question or doubt the inevitable effect of this cooling condensing surface upon the moisture in the atmosphere… A reduction of temperature must at once occur, accompanied by the usual phenomena of showers. The chief agency in this transformation is agriculture. To be more concise. Rain follows the plow.
Like many of his generation, Wilber wanted to have some scriptural support to go with his… temporal explainifying. Like many of our generation, he somehow managed to convince himself the primary purpose of God’s divinely revealed Word was to provide a disorganized and woefully incomplete science and/or history reference volume. Should there be pages left over to tease out the relationship of fallen man to his omnipotent Creator, well… bonus.
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. (Genesis 2:5-6, KJV)
Change that third “and” to “because” and we’ve got ourselves plowing advice – only two chapters in, no less! So never mind the weather, or the soil, or history, or science – if you keep plowing, nature itself will bend to your Puritan work ethic. If it eventually rains, it The Rainfall Follows The Plow | Blue Cereal Education: