Our blue sierras shone serene, sublime,
When ghostly shapes came crowding up the air,
Shadowing the landscape with some vast despair;
And all was changed as in weird pantomime,
Transfigured into vague, fantastic form
By that tremendous carnival of storm.
Pilgrim processions of bowed trees that climb
To sacred summits, in the clashing hail
Shuddered like flagellants beneath the flail.
Most gracious hills, in that tempestuous time,
Went wild as angered bulls, with bellowing cry
And goring horns that strove to charge the sky.
Masses of rock, long gnawed by stealthy rime,
With sudden roar that made our bravest blanch,
Came volleying down in fatal avalanche.
All nature seemed convulsed in some fierce crime,
And then a rainbow, and behold! the sun
Went comforting the harebells one by one;
And all was still save for the vesper chime
From far, faint belfry bathed in creamy light,
And the soft footfalls of the coming night.