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Poems About Storms

Table of Contents

Before the Storm

  1. Before the Breath of Storm by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  2. The Rising of the Storm by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  3. Storm-Sun by Ruby Archer
  4. Thunderstorms

  5. The Thunderstorm by Anonymous
  6. Changing Time by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  7. Summer Storm by Sara Teasdale
  8. The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson
  9. A Thunder-Storm by Emily Dickinson
  10. Thunderstorm on the Alps by Lord Byron
  11. A Mountain Storm by Katharine Lee Bates
  12. The Storm by Emily Dickinson
  13. Summer Storm by Bliss Carman
  14. A Tempest by Emily Dickinson
  15. The Storm by Anna Hempstead Branch
  16. Storm by Emily Dickinson
  17. A Line-Storm Song by Robert Frost
  18. The Rainstorm by James W. Whilt
  19. Squall by Leonora Speyer
  20. Garden Under Lightning by Leonora Speyer
  21. Tornados

  22. After the Tornado by Paul Hamilton Hayne
  23. Hurricanes

  24. The Hurricane by William Cullen Bryant
  25. The Hurricane by Charles Swain

Ocean Storms

  1. The Storm by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. The Captain's Daughter by James Thomas Fields
  3. The Tempest by James T. Fields
  4. The Storm by Alcaeus
  5. A Contrast by Thomas Durfee
  6. The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  7. Snowstorms

  8. The Snowstorm by James Thomson
  9. A Sleet-Storm in May by Madison Cawein
  10. Storm Fear by Robert Frost
  11. The Snow-Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  12. Snow Storm by John Clare
  13. The Snowstorm by James W. Whilt
  14. On the Prairie by Ellen P. Allerton
  15. Spellbound by Emily Brontë
  16. After the Storm

  17. Storm Ending by Jean Toomer
  18. The Storm Hath Passed by Margaret Miller Davidson
  19. After a Tempest by William Cullen Bryant
  20. After the Thunderstorm by James Thomson
  21. On this long storm the rainbow rose by Emily Dickinson
  22. Storm and Sunlight by Siegfried Sassoon

    Before the Storm

  1. Before the Breath of Storm

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Before the breath of storm.
    While yet the long, bright afternoons are warm,
    Under this stainless arch of azure sky
    The air is filled with gathering wings for flight;
    Yet with the shrill mirth and the loud delight
    Comes the foreboding sorrow of this cry—
    "Till the storm scatter and the gloom dispel,
    Farewell! Farewell!
    Farewell!"

    Why will ye go so soon,
    In these soft hours, this sweeter month than June?
    The liquid air floats over field and tree
    A veil of dreams;—where do ye find the sting?
    A gold enchantment sleeps upon the sea
    And purple hills;—why have ye taken wing?
    But faint, far-heard, the answers fall and swell—
    "Farewell! Farewell!
    Farewell!"

  2. The Rising of the Storm

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The lake's dark breast
    Is all unrest,
    It heaves with a sob and a sigh.
    Like a tremulous bird,
    From its slumber stirred,
    The moon is a-tilt in the sky.

    From the silent deep
    The waters sweep,
    But faint on the cold white stones,
    And the wavelets fly
    With a plaintive cry
    O'er the old earth's bare, bleak bones.

    And the spray upsprings
    On its ghost-white wings,
    And tosses a kiss at the stars;
    While a water-sprite,
    In sea-pearls dight,
    Hums a sea-hymn's solemn bars.

    Far out in the night,
    On the wavering sight
    I see a dark hull loom;
    And its light on high,
    Like a Cyclops' eye,
    Shines out through the mist and gloom.

    Now the winds well up
    From the earth's deep cup,
    And fall on the sea and shore,
    And against the pier
    The waters rear
    And break with a sullen roar.

    Up comes the gale,
    And the mist-wrought veil
    Gives way to the lightning's glare,
    And the cloud-drifts fall,
    A sombre pall,
    O'er water, earth, and air.

    The storm-king flies,
    His whip he plies,
    And bellows down the wind.
    The lightning rash
    With blinding flash
    Comes pricking on behind.

    Rise, waters, rise,
    And taunt the skies
    With your swift-flitting form.
    Sweep, wild winds, sweep,
    And tear the deep
    To atoms in the storm.

    And the waters leapt,
    And the wild winds swept,
    And blew out the moon in the sky,
    And I laughed with glee,
    It was joy to me
    As the storm went raging by!

  3. Storm-Sun

    by Ruby Archer

    Come and marvel at the sunset!
    Lo—a storm is brooding near,—
    All the thirsty world imploring,
    In a mood akin to fear.

    Like a beaker in her fingers
    Holds the world the valley high,
    Mountain-lipped and cañon-hearted,
    To the largess of the sky.

    But the sky, capricious ever,
    Hides the storm unbroken still;
    And the pallid, sun-born nectar
    Doth the beaker brimming fill.

    See the weirdly golden essence
    Lurk along, the shades between,
    'Till it drowns and rolls above them
    In triumphant glare of sheen.

  4. Thunderstorms

  5. The Thunderstorm

    by Anonymous

    I came with a roar from the western sky
    And over the western hill;
    I shook the rocks as I thundered by,
    And I bent the woods to my will.

    I came at two of the village clock,
    When the night was heavy with mirk;
    I carried a torch in one of my hands,
    And in one I carried a dirk.

    I hid the torch in my folds of rain,
    Till sudden I showed its glare;
    I plunged the dirk in the thick of the woods
    And splintered a pine-tree there.

    I kindled a fire in the forcst leaves,
    And put it out with my rain;
    I leaped with a howi from the western ridge
    And rushed o'er the western plain.

    I came at two of the village clock.
    And raced through the empty street.
    I slashed the houghs of the arching elms,
    And the high church tower I beat.

    I flung my rain through the shingled roofs
    And into the window—souse!
    The nightgowned folk with their lamps
    Hurried around the house.

    The children snuggled in awesome beds,
    And trembled to hear my shout;
    And yet it was pleasant, so safe within,
    So marvellous wild without.

    Then away from the town I flung myself,
    And into the eastern sea,
    Where the big black waves rose up with a roar
    And heavily welcomed me.

    I came and I went at the beck of the Lord,
    The Lord of storms and of men,
    And I crouch in my cave at the end of the world
    Till He beckons me forth again.

  6. Changing Time

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The cloud looked in at the window,
    And said to the day, "Be dark!"
    And the roguish rain tapped hard on the pane,
    To stifle the song of the lark.

    The wind sprang up in the tree tops
    And shrieked with a voice of death,
    But the rough-voiced breeze, that shook the trees,
    Was touched with a violet's breath.

  7. Summer Storm

    by Sara Teasdale

    The panther wind
    Leaps out of the night,
    The snake of lightning
    Is twisting and white,
    The lion of thunder
    Roars—and we
    Sit still and content
    Under a tree—
    We have met fate together
    And love and pain,
    Why should we fear
    The wrath of the rain!

  8. The farthest thunder that I heard

    by Emily Dickinson

    The farthest thunder that I heard
    Was nearer than the sky,
    And rumbles still, though torrid noons
    Have lain their missiles by.
    The lightning that preceded it
    Struck no one but myself,
    But I would not exchange the bolt
    For all the rest of life.
    Indebtedness to oxygen
    The chemist may repay,
    But not the obligation
    To electricity.
    It founds the homes and decks the days,
    And every clamor bright
    Is but the gleam concomitant
    Of that waylaying light.
    The thought is quiet as a flake, —
    A crash without a sound;
    How life's reverberation
    Its explanation found!

  9. A Thunder-Storm

    by Emily Dickinson

    The wind begun to rock the grass
    With threatening tunes and low, —
    He flung a menace at the earth,
    A menace at the sky.

    The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
    And started all abroad;
    The dust did scoop itself like hands
    And throw away the road.

    The wagons quickened on the streets,
    The thunder hurried slow;
    The lightning showed a yellow beak,
    And then a livid claw.

    The birds put up the bars to nests,
    The cattle fled to barns;
    There came one drop of giant rain,
    And then, as if the hands

    That held the dams had parted hold,
    The waters wrecked the sky,
    But overlooked my father's house,
    Just quartering a tree.

  10. A Mountain Storm

    by Katharine Lee Bates

    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.

  11. Thunderstorm on the Alps

    George Gordon Byron

    Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
    With the wild world I dwell in, is a thing
    Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
    Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
    This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
    To waft me from distraction; once I loved
    Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
    Sounds sweet, as if a sister's voice reproved,
    That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.

    All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep,
    But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
    And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep—
    All heaven and earth are still: from the high host
    Of stars, to the lulled lake and mountain coast,
    All is concentered in a life intense,
    Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
    But hath a part of being, and a sense
    Of that which is of all Creator and defense.

    The sky is changed! and such a change! O night,
    And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
    Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
    Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
    From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
    Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
    But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
    And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
    Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!

    And this is in the night.—Most glorious night!
    Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
    A sharer in thy fierce and far delight,—
    A portion of the tempest and of thee!
    How the lit lake shines,—a phosphoric sea!
    And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
    And now again, 'tis black,—and now, the glee
    Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain mirth,
    As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.

    Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between
    Heights which appear as lovers who have parted
    In hate, whose mining depths so intervene,
    That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted;
    Though in their souls, which thus each other thwarted,
    Love was the very root of the fond rage,
    Which blighted their life's bloom, and then—departed.
    Itself expired, but leaving them an age
    Of years, all winters,—war within themselves to wage.

    Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his way,
    The mightiest of the storms hath ta'en his stand!
    For here, not one, but many make their play,
    And fling their thunderbolts from hand to hand,
    Flashing and cast around! Of all the band,
    The brightest through these parted hills hath forked
    His lightnings,—as if he did understand,
    That in such gaps as desolation worked,
    There, the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurked.

  12. The Storm

    by Emily Dickinson

    There came a wind like a bugle;
    It quivered through the grass,
    And a green chill upon the heat
    So ominous did pass
    We barred the windows and the doors
    As from an emerald ghost;
    The doom's electric moccason
    That very instant passed.
    On a strange mob of panting trees,
    And fences fled away,
    And rivers where the houses ran
    The living looked that day.
    The bell within the steeple wild
    The flying tidings whirled.
    How much can come
    And much can go,
    And yet abide the world!

  13. Summer Storm

    by Bliss Carman

    The hilltop trees are bowing
    Under the coming of storm.
    The low, gray clouds are trailing
    Like squadrons that sweep and form,
    With their ammunition of rain.

    Then the trumpeter wind gives signal
    To unlimber the viewless guns;
    The cattle huddle together;
    Indoors the farmer runs;
    And the first shot lashes the pane.

    They charge through the quiet orchard;
    One pear tree is snapped like a wand;
    As they sweep from the shattered hillside,
    Ruffling the blackened pond,
    Ere the sun takes the field again.

  14. A Tempest

    by Emily Dickinson

    An awful tempest mashed the air,
    The clouds were gaunt and few;
    A black, as of a spectre's cloak,
    Hid heaven and earth from view.

    The creatures chuckled on the roofs
    And whistled in the air,
    And shook their fists and gnashed their teeth.
    And swung their frenzied hair.

    The morning lit, the birds arose;
    The monster's faded eyes
    Turned slowly to his native coast,
    And peace was Paradise!

  15. The Storm

    by Anna Hempstead Branch

    The wind was a crowd,
    Wet birds were the skies,
    I marched laughing aloud
    With the storm in my eyes.

    Part beast and part bird,
    A waif of the plain,
    My laughter was heard
    With the voice of the rain.

    I thought I remembered
    A night long ago
    When our hoofs beat the sod
    And we rushed to and fro,

    Our flanks steaming hot,
    Rain-driven and warm!
    I had almost forgot
    Till I ran with the storm.

    I thought I remembered
    Black roads to a star,
    When the wind in our pinions
    Beat us up and afar.

    How shrill were our cries,
    As we flew from the plain!
    Oh that road to the skies,
    Beaten up by the rain!

    The flails of the storm
    Beat my soul from its mesh.
    It paled like a mist,
    Driven out of the flesh.

    It flew through the night
    To my mother's warm hand,
    But I— I was abroad
    With the wind and the sand.

    Unhuman and strange,
    'Twixt the rain and the stone,
    I must flutter and range
    Through the dark all alone!

    The darkness,
    The wetness,
    The sleekness,
    The fatness
    Of shapes in the tempest
    Submerged, with no name,
    As with laughter and shout

    And a clapping of hands
    I danced in and out
    Or clove in the sands.
    As straight as the lightning
    I struck and I came —
    The storm was the thunder,
    And I was the flame.

    It was thus that I ran
    To the House on the Hill,
    When the voice of love
    Bade the tempest be still.

    Then I gathered me back
    From the rain and the sand
    To the soul held so close
    In my mother's warm hand.

  16. Storm

    by Emily Dickinson

    It sounded as if the streets were running,
    And then the streets stood still.
    Eclipse was all we could see at the window,
    And awe was all we could feel.

    By and by the boldest stole out of his covert,
    To see if time was there.
    Nature was in her beryl apron,
    Mixing fresher air.

  17. A Line-Storm Song

    by Robert Frost

    The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
    The road is forlorn all day,
    Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
    And the hoof-prints vanish away.
    The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
    Expend their bloom in vain.
    Come over the hills and far with me,
    And be my love in the rain.

    The birds have less to say for themselves
    In the wood-world’s torn despair
    Than now these numberless years the elves,
    Although they are no less there:
    All song of the woods is crushed like some
    Wild, easily shattered rose.
    Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
    Where the boughs rain when it blows.

    There is the gale to urge behind
    And bruit our singing down,
    And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
    From which to gather your gown.
    What matter if we go clear to the west,
    And come not through dry-shod?
    For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
    The rain-fresh goldenrod.

    Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
    But it seems like the sea’s return
    To the ancient lands where it left the shells
    Before the age of the fern;
    And it seems like the time when after doubt
    Our love came back amain.
    Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
    And be my love in the rain.

  18. The Rainstorm

    by James W. Whilt

    Here in the deep tangled forest
    All is quiet and still,
    While far to the west the thunder,
    Re-echoes from hill to hill.

    And the lightning's flash, ever vivid,
    In great gashes knives the air;
    The rain comes down in torrents,
    A deluge everywhere!

    Bathing the heat-sick flowers
    That they may bloom once more;
    Painting the grass a greener hue,
    That grows by our cabin door;

    Making the pastures fresher,
    For the cows and shepherd's herds,
    Making the pools by the road-side,—
    Bath tubs for the birds.

    Then the thunder peals louder and louder,
    Firing its shrapnel of rain.
    The clouds charge after each other,
    And the drouth is defeated again.

    Then through a rent in the clouds
    The sun's searchlight casts its ray,
    And the Rain-God looks over the valley
    And sees the result of the fray.

    And as He sees his conquest,
    His victory's flag is unfurled,
    In a beautiful colored rainbow,—
    He is telling all of the world,

    What a victory was his, what a triumph!
    It's flashed down the milky way,
    Then the sentinel stars dot the heavens,
    And the dew-drops sound taps for the day.

  19. Squall

    by Leonora Speyer

    The squall sweeps gray-winged across the obliterated hills,
    And the startled lake seems to run before it;
    From the wood comes a clamor of leaves,
    Tugging at the twigs,
    Pouring from the branches,
    And suddenly the birds are still.

    Thunder crumples the sky,
    Lightning tears at it.

    And now the rain!
    The rain—thudding—implacable—
    The wind, reveling in the confusion of great pines!

    And a silver sifting of light,
    A coolness;
    A sense of summer anger passing,
    Of summer gentleness creeping nearer—
    Penitent, tearful,
    Forgiven!

  20. The Storm at Sea

    by Lydia Sigourney

    The good ship o'er the Ocean
    Glides on, while skies are bright,
    And rolling waves, right merrily
    Propel her homeward flight.

    But clouds and angry tempests,
    Rush from their prison cell,
    The rocky coast frowns dark and dread,
    The wintry surges swell.

    'Tis night.—Amid the breakers,
    The headlong vessel goes,
    And groaning, like a wounded man
    Strives with its vengeful foes.

    Pale grows the boldest mariner,
    For scarce the trumpet's cry,
    Is heard amid contending blasts
    That shake the astonish'd sky.

    How fearful is the tumult,
    The cry, the shriek, the prayer,
    Are mingled with the deaf'ning storm,
    In echoes of despair.

    But in the lonely cabin
    Rock'd by the raging sea,
    There calmly sat a beauteous boy,
    Upon his mother's knee;

    He sang a hymn of heaven,
    Then spoke so sweetly mild,
    "The Bible saith our Saviour dear
    Doth love the little child,—

    It telleth of a happy home,
    Above the stormy sky,
    Mother!—He'll take us there to dwell
    We're not afraid to die."

    His smile was pure and peaceful,
    As the pearl beneath the deep,—
    When the booming battle-thunders
    Across its bosom sweep.

    Hoarse came the words of horror
    From men of sinful life,
    While innocence, with soul serene
    Beheld the appalling strife.

    Morn! Morn!—The clouds are breaking,
    The tempest's wrath is o'er.
    The shatter'd bark moves heavily
    To reach the welcome shore.

    Hush'd is the voice of thunder,
    And quell'd the lightning's flame,
    For prayer had touch'd the gate of Heaven,
    And answer'ng mercy came.

  21. Garden Under Lightning (Ghost Story)

    by Leonora Speyer

    Out of the storm that muffles shining night
    Flash roses ghastly-sweet,
    And lilies far too pale.
    There is a pang of livid light,
    A terror of familiarity,
    I see a dripping swirl of leaves and petals
    That I once tended happily,
    Borders of flattened, frightened little things,
    And writhing paths I surely walked in that other life—
    Day?

    My specter-garden beckons to me,
    Gibbers horribly—
    And vanishes!

  22. Tornados

  23. After the Tornado

    by Paul Hamilton Hayne

    Last eve the earth was calm, the heavens were clear;
    A peaceful glory crowned the waning west,
    And yonder distant mountain's hoary crest
    The semblance of a silvery robe did wear,
    Shot through with moon-wrought tissues; far and near
    Wood, rivulet, lield—all Nature's face—expressed
    The haunting presence of enchanted rest.
    One twilight star shone like a blissful tear,
    Unshed. But now, what ravage in a night!
    Yon mountain height fades in its cloud-girt pall;
    The prostrate wood lies smirched rain and mire;
    Through the shorn fields the whirls, wild and white;
    While o'er the turbulent waste woodland fall.
    Glares the red sunrise, blurred mists of fire!

  24. Hurricanes

  25. The Hurricane

    by William Cullen Bryant

    LORD of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
    I know thy breath in the burning sky!
    And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
    For the coming of the hurricane!

    And lo! on the wing of the heavy gales,
    Through the boundless arch of heaven he sails;
    Silent, and slow, and terribly strong,
    The mighty shadow is borne along,
    Like the dark eternity to come;
    While the world below, dismayed and dumb,
    Through the calm of the thick hot atmosphere
    Looks up at its gloomy folds with fear.

    They darken fast—and the golden blaze
    Of the sun is quenched in the lurid haze,
    And he sends through the shade a funeral ray—
    A glare that is neither night nor day,
    A beam that touches, with hues of death,
    The clouds above and the earth beneath.
    To its covert glides the silent bird,
    While the hurricane's distant voice is heard,
    Uplifted among the mountains round,
    And the forests hear and answer the sound.

    He is come! he is come! do ye not behold
    His ample robes on the wind unrolled?
    Giant of air! we bid thee hail!—
    How his gray skirts toss in the whirling gale;
    How his huge and writhing arms are bent,
    To clasp the zone of the firmament,
    And fold, at length, in their dark embrace,
    From mountain to mountain the visible space.

    Darker—still darker! the whirlwinds bear
    The dust of the plains to the middle air:
    And hark to the crashing, long and loud,
    Of the chariot of God in the thunder-cloud!
    You may trace its path by the flashes that start
    From the rapid wheels where'er they dart,
    As the fire-bolts leap to the world below,
    And flood the skies with a lurid glow.

    What roar is that?—'tis the rain that breaks,
    In torrents away from the airy lakes,
    Heavily poured on the shuddering ground,
    And shedding a nameless horror round,
    Ah! well-known woods, and mountains, and skies,
    With the very clouds!—ye are lost to my eyes.
    I seek ye vainly, and see in your place
    The shadowy tempest that sweeps through space,
    A whirling ocean that fills the wall
    Of the crystal heaven, and buries all.
    And I, cut off from the world, remain
    Alone with the terrible hurricane.

  26. The Hurricane

    by Charles Swain

    In the west a line of silver
    Seemed from darkness to emerge,
    Like the gleaming sword of Azrael,
    On the dim horizon's verge:
    Deep and deeper frowned the darkness,
    Whiter grew that line of fear:
    All that gazed knew well the omen,—
    Knew the Hurricane was near!

    Bowsprit high the billows mounted,
    E'en the firmest held their breath;
    Thundering onward swept the ocean,
    With a darkness grim as death:
    Shrouds and stays were rent asunder,
    Masts and spars were snapped in twain,
    Black'ning downwards rushed the heavens—
    Roaring upwards rolled the main.

    O'er her bows the foremast splintered,
    Blocks and cordage strewed the air;
    Headlong down the vessel foundered—
    All was shrieking and despair!
    'Mid a wild and whirling chaos,
    All above me and around,—
    Struggling arms and gasping faces,
    And the drowning, and the drowned!

  27. Ocean Storms

  28. The Storm

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Wild are the winds! the heavens are dark!
    And he is out on a pathless deep;
    Who will manage the weltering bark?
    Who o'er him will the night watch keep?

    God of the ocean, earth and air,
    Over the high and perilous wave
    Carry him safe, for thou art there—
    Thine eye is watching; thine arm can save!

    Author of light, the skies unveil,
    That the shining hosts, from their lofty arch,
    May again beam down on his wandering sail,
    As in glory they move on their nightly march.

    When he has closed his weary eyes,
    Lulled by the billows that harmless roll,
    Visions of bliss and beauty, rise
    In flowery dreams to the waking soul!

    But who shall dream, till the storm is past?
    Who 'mid the elements' war shall sleep?
    Spirit of mercy, hold him fast!
    For he is out on an angry deep!

  29. The Captain's Daughter

    by James Thomas Fields

    We were crowded in the cabin,
    Not a soul would dare to sleep,—
    It was midnight on the waters,
    And a storm was on the deep.

    'Tis a fearful thing in winter
    To be shattered by the blast,
    And to hear the rattling trumpet
    Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

    So we shuddered there in silence,—
    For the stoutest held his breath,
    While the hungry sea was roaring
    And the breakers talked with death.

    As thus we sat in darkness,
    Each one busy with his prayers,
    "We are lost!" the captain shouted,
    As he staggered down the stairs.

    But his little daughter whispered,
    As she took his icy hand,
    "Isn't God upon the ocean,
    Just the same as on the land?"

    Then we kissed the little maiden,
    And we spake in better cheer,
    And we anchored safe in harbor
    When the morn was shining clear.

  30. The Tempest

    By James T. Fields

    We were crowded in the cabin;
    Not a soul would dare to sleep:
    It was midnight on the waters,
    And a storm was on the deep.

    'T is a fearful thing in winter
    To be shattered by the blast,
    And to hear the rattling trumpet
    Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

    So we shuddered there in silence,
    For the stoutest held his breath,
    While the hungry sea was roaring,
    And the breakers threatened death.

    And as thus we sat in darkness,
    Each one busy in his prayers,
    "We are lost!" the captain shouted,
    As he staggered down the stairs.

    But his little daughter whispered,
    As she took his icy hand,
    "Isn't God upon the ocean,
    Just the same as on the land?"

    Then we kissed the little maiden,
    And we spoke in better cheer;
    And we anchored safe in harbor
    When the morn was shining clear.

  31. The Storm

    by Alcaeus

    Now here, now there, the wild waves sweep,
    Whilst we, betwixt them o'er the deep,
    In shatter'd tempest-beaten bark,
    With laboring ropes are onward driven,
    The billows dashing o'er our dark
    Upheaved deck—in tatters riven
    Our sails—whose yawning rents between
    The raging sea and sky are seen.

    Loose from their hold our anchors burst,
    And then the third, the fatal wave
    Comes rolling onward like the first,
    And doubles all our toil to save.

  32. A Contrast

    by Thomas Durfee

    Once, in an old and lonely
    Farm-house by the sea,
    I went to rest with only
    Myself for company.

    No star the darkness brightened;
    Alow the welkin bowed;
    It blew, it rained, it lightened,
    It thundered long and loud.

    The tempest drove the billows
    Upon the rocky shore,
    And, nestled in my pillows,
    I heard them plunge and roar.

    The windows creaked and rattled,
    The chimney puffed and moaned,
    The stout old elms, that battled
    Out in the court-yard, groaned.

    I dozed while yet I listened;
    And lo! the next I knew,
    The golden sunshine glistened,
    And everything was new.

    The cock was crowing clearly,
    Cluck-clucked the happy hen,
    The robin carolled cheerly,
    And sweetly chirped the wren.

    I rose with glad emotion
    And up the window threw;
    Before me heaved the ocean
    Its sparkling waters blue.

    The skies were soft and tender;
    And lovely to be seen.
    Impearled with dewy splendor,
    The land lay fresh and green.

    I breathed an air Elysian;
    I thrilled with pure delight;
    And nothing but a vision
    Seemed that black yester-night.

  33. The September Gale

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    I'm not a chicken; I have seen
    Full many a chill September,
    And though I was a youngster then,
    That gale I well remember;
    The day before, my kite-string snapped,
    And I, my kite pursuing,
    The wind whisked off my palm-leaf hat;—
    For me two storms were brewing!

    It came as quarrels sometimes do,
    When married folks get clashing;
    There was a heavy sigh or two,
    Before the fire was flashing,—
    A little stir among the clouds,
    Before they rent asunder,—
    A little rocking of the trees,
    And then came on the thunder.

    Lord! how the ponds and rivers boiled,
    And how the shingles rattled!
    And oaks were scattered on the ground,
    As if the Titans battled;
    And all above was in a howl,
    And all below a clatter,—
    The earth was like a frying-pan.
    Or some such hissing matter.

    It chanced to be our washing-day,
    And all our things were drying:
    The storm came roaring through the lines,
    And set them all a-flying;
    I saw the shirts and petticoats
    Go riding off like witches;
    I lost, ah! bitterly I wept,—
    I lost my Sunday breeches!

    I saw them straddling through the air,
    Alas! too late to win them;
    I saw them chase the clouds, as if
    The devil had been in them;
    They were my darlings and my pride,
    My boyhood's only riches,—
    "Farewell, farewell," I faintly cried,—
    "My breeches! O my breeches!"

    That night I saw them in my dreams,
    How changed from what I knew them!
    The dews had steeped their faded threads,
    The winds had whistled through them!
    I saw the wide and ghastly rents
    Where demon claws had torn them;
    A hole was in their amplest part,
    As if an imp had worn them.

    I have had many happy years
    And tailors kind and clever,
    But those young pantaloons have gone
    Forever and forever!
    And not till fate has cut the last
    Of all my earthly stitches,
    This aching heart shall cease to mourn
    My loved, my long-lost breeches!

  34. Snowstorms

  35. The Snowstorm

    James Thomson NOTE.—4. Household gods. An allusion to the belief of the ancient Romans in the Penates—certain gods who were supposed to protect the household and all connected with it. The idea here expressed is, that the Redbreast was secure from harm.

    Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
    At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes
    Fall broad and wide and fast, dimming the day,
    With a continual flow. The cherished fields
    Put on their winter robe of purest white.
    'T is brightness all: save where the new snow melts
    Along the mazy current.

    Low the woods
    Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun
    Faint from the west emits its evening ray,
    Earth's universal face, deep-hid and chill,
    Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide
    The works of man.

    Drooping, the laborer ox
    Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands
    The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
    Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
    The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
    Which Providence assigns them.

    One alone,
    The Redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
    Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
    In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
    His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
    His annual visit.

    Half-afraid, he first
    Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
    On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
    Eyes all the smiling family askance,
    And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is;
    Till, more familiar grown, the table crumbs
    Attract his slender feet.

    The foodless wilds
    Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
    Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
    By death in various forms, dark snares and dogs,
    And more unpitying men, the garden seeks,
    Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kind.
    Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
    With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispersed,
    Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow

    Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind,
    Baffle the raging year, and fill their pens
    With food at will; lodge them below the storm,
    And watch them strict; for from the bellowing east,
    In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing
    Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains
    In one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,
    Hid in the hollow of two neighboring hills,
    The billowy tempest 'whelms; till, upward urged,
    The valley to a shining mountain swells,
    Tipped with a wreath high-curling in the sky

  36. A Sleet-Storm in May

    by Madison Cawein

    On southern winds shot through with amber light,
    Breathing soft balm and clothed in cloudy white,
    The lily-fingered Spring came o'er the hills,
    Waking the crocus and the daffodils.
    O'er the cold Earth she breathed a tender sigh—
    The maples sang and flung their banners high,
    Their crimson-tasselled pennons, and the elm
    Bound his dark brows with a green-crested helm.
    Beneath the musky rot of Autumn's leaves,
    Under the forest's myriad naked eaves,
    Life woke and rose in gold and green and blue,
    Robed in the starlight of the twinkling dew.

    With timid tread adown the barren wood
    Spring held her way, when, lo! before her stood
    White-mantled Winter wagging his white head,
    Stormy his brow and stormily he said:
    'The God of Terror, and the King of Storm,
    Must I remind thee how my iron arm
    Raised my red standards 'mid these conquered bowers,
    Turning their green to crimson?—Thou, with flowers,
    Thou wouldst supplant me! nay! usurp my throne!—
    Audacious one!'—And at her breast he tossed
    A bitter javelin of ice and frost;
    And left her lying on th' unfeeling mould.
    The fragile blossoms, gathered in the fold
    Of her warm bosom, fell in desolate rows
    About her beauty, and, like fragrant snows,
    Covered her lovely hands and beautiful feet,
    Or on her lips lay like last kisses sweet
    That died there. Lilacs, musky of the May,
    And bluer violets and snowdrops lay
    Entombed in crystal, icy dim and fair,
    Like teardrops scattered in her heavenly hair.

    Alas! sad heart, break not beneath the pain!
    Time changeth all; the Beautiful wakes again.—
    We should not question such; a higher power
    Knows best what bud is ripest or what flower,
    And silently plucks it at the fittest hour.

  37. Storm Fear

    by Robert Frost

    When the wind works against us in the dark,
    And pelts with snow
    The lower chamber window on the east,
    And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,
    The beast,
    'Come out! Come out!—
    It costs no inward struggle not to go,
    Ah, no!
    I count our strength,
    Two and a child,
    Those of us not asleep subdued to mark
    How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length,—
    How drifts are piled,
    Dooryard and road ungraded,
    Till even the comforting barn grows far away
    And my heart owns a doubt
    Whether 'tis in us to arise with day
    And save ourselves unaided.

  38. The Snow-Storm

    by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
    Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
    Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
    Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
    And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
    The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
    Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
    Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
    In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

    Come see the north wind's masonry.
    Out of an unseen quarry evermore
    Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
    Curves his white bastions with projected roof
    Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
    Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
    So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
    For number or proportion. Mockingly,
    On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
    A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
    Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
    Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
    A tapering turret overtops the work.
    And when his hours are numbered, and the world
    Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
    Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
    To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
    Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
    The frolic architecture of the snow.

  39. Snow Storm

    by John Clare

    What a night! The wind howls, hisses, and but stops
    To howl more loud, while the snow volley keeps
    Incessant batter at the window pane,
    Making our comfort feel as sweet again;
    And in the morning, when the tempest drops,
    At every cottage door mountainous heaps
    Of snow lie drifted, that all entrance stops
    Untill the beesom and the shovel gain
    The path, and leave a wall on either side.
    The shepherd rambling valleys white and wide
    With new sensations his old memory fills,
    When hedges left at night, no more descried,
    Are turned to one white sweep of curving hills,
    And trees turned bushes half their bodies hide.

    The boy that goes to fodder with surprise
    Walks oer the gate he opened yesternight.
    The hedges all have vanished from his eyes;
    Een some tree tops the sheep could reach to bite.
    The novel scene emboldens new delight,
    And, though with cautious steps his sports begin,
    He bolder shuffles the huge hills of snow,
    Till down he drops and plunges to the chin,
    And struggles much and oft escape to win—
    Then turns and laughs but dare not further go;
    For deep the grass and bushes lie below,
    Where little birds that soon at eve went in
    With heads tucked in their wings now pine for day
    And little feel boys oer their heads can stray.

  40. The Snowstorm

    by James W. Whilt

    The snow has started falling,
    'Tis falling o'er mountain and plain,
    The trees bend under their burden,
    Shake free, and are draped again.

    While I sit here safe in my cabin
    Where all is cozy and warm,
    I can peer into the future,
    And view the woods after the storm.

    I can see the deer seeking the low-lands,
    In search of their daily food,
    I can see the hunter's eyes glisten,
    For he knows that the tracking is good.

    The lion dogs leap in their kennels,
    There is barking and wagging of tails,
    The hunter examines his snow-shoes,
    And dreams of "kills" and of trails.

    The bear trails lead far up the mountain
    Where the cliffs are rugged and steep,
    And there is some cave in the ledges,
    They're beginning their winter's sleep.

    They will sleep till the wild geese awaken them,
    As they take their Northern flight,
    Then again they will seek the hill-sides
    Where the sun shines clear and bright.

    Now the wild geese honk as they leave us,
    Followed close by wind-driven snow;
    They are telling all of us trappers,
    But, of course, all us trappers know

    That whenever the wild geese go homing,
    It is time that our traps are set;—
    Snow, I have been waiting for you!
    You are a welcome visitor—you bet.

  41. On the Prairie

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Out on the prairie—a shrieking storm!
    How the pitiless cold, driven from homes and firesides warm,
    In its terrible hold,
    Here grapples and grips with strength untold!

    Miles and miles, and nothing in sight,
    Only sweeps of snow—
    That under the dust of the gathering night,
    Now dimmer grow—breasting the winds that fiercely blow.

    Not a friendly light, not a sheltering tree,
    On the prairie's breast.
    And my failing feet shrink under me!
    I am heavy—oppressed
    With a drowsy weight; I must stop and rest.

    No, I can not go on! Here I lay me down,
    While the storm sweeps by;
    Press on, if you can, to the sheltering town;
    In peace let me lie.
    I am not cold . . . only sleepy . . . good-by.

  42. Spellbound

    by Emily Brontë

    The night is darkening round me,
    The wild winds coldly blow;
    But a tyrant spell has bound me
    And I cannot, cannot go.

    The giant trees are bending
    Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
    And the storm is fast descending,
    And yet I cannot go.

    Clouds beyond clouds above me,
    Wastes beyond wastes below;
    But nothing drear can move me;
    I will not, cannot go.

  43. After the Storm

  44. Storm Ending

    by Jean Toomer

    Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
    Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
    Rumbling in the wind,
    Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
    Full-lipped flowers
    Bitten by the sun
    Bleeding rain
    Dripping rain like golden honey—
    And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

  45. The Storm Hath Passed

    by Margaret Miller Davidson

    The storm hath pass'd by, like an angry cloud
    Which sweeps o'er the brow of the azure heaven;
    The sun and the earth to its sway hath bow'd,
    And each radiant beam from the scene been driven.

    All hail to the smile of the cloudless sky!
    All hail to the sun as he rides on high!
    All hail to the heavens' ethereal blue,
    And to nature, when deck'd in her own lovely hue!

    It hath pass'd! the storm, like a giant form,
    Which summons the winds from their tempest cave;
    Which opens a grave in each ocean wave,
    And wraps the world in its shroud of gloom.

    Oh! welcome the smile of the gladden'd earth!
    And welcome the voice of the wood-bird's mirth!
    And welcome these varying hues which delight
    Like dawn at the close of a wearisome night.

    The clouds have pass'd, with the shadows they cast,
    And hush'd is the sound of the wind-god's power,
    And his deep, wild blast, as the tempest pass'd
    Which rang on the ear at the midnight hour.

    Oh! welcome the soft, balmy zephyrs of spring!
    And welcome the perfumes they silently bring!
    And the rosy-tinged cloudlets that gracefully glide
    O'er the fair brow of heaven in beauty and pride!

    It hath fled in its night, the dark spirit of night,
    Which cast such a shade o'er the light of the soul;
    It hath fled and died, while the sunset beam
    From its surface triumphantly backward shall roll.

    Oh! welcome the smiles of a gladden'd heart!
    And welcome the joy which those smiles impart!
    And welcome the light of that sparkling eye
    Which tells that the storm in its dread hath pass'd by!

  46. After a Tempest

    by William Cullen Bryant

    The day had been a day of wind and storm;—
    The wind was laid, the storm was overpast,—
    And stooping from the zenith, bright and warm
    Shone the great sun on the wide earth at last.
    I stood upon the upland slope, and cast
    My eye upon a broad and beauteous scene,
    Where the vast plain lay girt by mountains vast,
    And hills o'er hills lifted their heads of green,
    With pleasant vales scooped out and villages between.

    The rain-drops glistened on the trees around,
    Whose shadows on the tall grass were not stirred,
    Save when a shower of diamonds, to the ground,
    Was shaken by the flight of startled bird;
    For birds were warbling round, and bees were heard
    About the flowers; the cheerful rivulet sung
    And gossiped, as he hastened ocean-ward;
    To the gray oak the squirrel, chiding, clung,
    And chirping from the ground the grasshopper upsprung.

    And from beneath the leaves that kept them dry
    Flew many a glittering insect here and them,
    And darted up and down the butterfly,
    That seemed a living blossom of the air.
    The flocks came scattering from the thicket, where
    The violent rain had pent them; in the way
    Strolled groups of damsels frolicksome and fair;
    The farmer swung the scythe or turned the hay,
    And 'twixt the heavy swaths his children were at play.

    It was a scene of peace—and, like a spell,
    Did that serene and golden sunlight fall
    Upon the motionless wood that clothed the fell,
    And precipice upspringing like a wall,
    And glassy river and white waterfall,
    And happy living things that trod the bright
    And beauteous scene; while far beyond them all,
    On many a lovely valley, out of sight,
    Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft golden light.

    I looked, and thought the quiet of the scene
    An emblem of the peace that yet shall be,
    When, o'er earth's continents and isles between,
    The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea,
    And married nations dwell in harmony;
    When millions, crouching in the dust to one,
    No more shall beg their lives on bended knee,
    Nor the black stake be dressed, nor in the sun
    The o'erlaboured captive toil, and wish his life were done,

    Too long, at clash of arms amid her bowers
    And pools of blood, the earth has stood aghast,
    The fair earth, that should only blush with flowers
    And ruddy fruits; but not for aye can last
    The storm, and sweet the sunshine when 'tis past.
    Lo, the clouds roll away—they break—they fly,
    And, like the glorious light of summer, cast
    O'er the wide landscape from the embracing sky,
    On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall lie.

  47. After the Thunderstorm

    by James Thomson

    As from the face of heaven the shattered clouds
    Tumultuous rove, the interminable sky
    Sublimer swells, and o'er the world expands
    A purer azure.

    Through the lightened air
    A higher luster and a clearer calm,
    Diffusive, tremble; while, as if in sign
    Of danger past, a glittering robe of joy,
    Set off abundant by the yellow ray,
    Invests the fields; and nature smiles revived.

    'T is beauty all, and grateful song around,
    Joined to the low of kine, and numerous bleat
    Of flocks thick-nibbling through the clovered vale:
    And shall the hymn be marred by thankless man,
    Most favored; who, with voice articulate,
    Should lead the chorus of this lower world?

    Shall man, so soon forgetful of the Hand
    That hushed the thunder, and serenes the sky,
    Extinguished fed that spark the tempest waked,
    That sense of powers exceeding far his own,
    Ere yet his feeble heart has lost its fears?

  48. On this long storm the rainbow rose

    by Emily Dickinson

    On this long storm the rainbow rose,
    On this late morn the sun;
    The clouds, like listless elephants,
    Horizons straggled down.

    The birds rose smiling in their nests,
    The gales indeed were done;
    Alas! how heedless were the eyes
    On whom the summer shone!

    The quiet nonchalance of death
    No daybreak can bestir;
    The slow archangel's syllables
    Must awaken her.

  49. Storm and Sunlight

    by Siegfried Sassoon

    I

    In barns we crouch, and under stacks of straw,
    Harking the storm that rides a hurtling legion
    Up the arched sky, and speeds quick heels of panic
    With growling thunder loosed in fork and clap
    That echoes crashing thro’ the slumbrous vault.
    The whispering woodlands darken: vulture Gloom
    Stoops, menacing the skeltering flocks of Light,
    Where the gaunt shepherd shakes his gleaming staff
    And foots with angry tidings down the slope.
    Drip, drip; the rain steals in through soaking thatch
    By cob-webbed rafters to the dusty floor.
    Drums shatter in the tumult; wrathful Chaos
    Points pealing din to the zenith, then resolves
    Terror in wonderment with rich collapse.

    II

    Now from drenched eaves a swallow darts to skim
    The crystal stillness of an air unveiled
    To tremulous blue. Raise your bowed heads, and let
    Your horns adore the sky, ye patient kine!
    Haste, flashing brooks! Small, chuckling rills, rejoice!
    Be open-eyed for Heaven, ye pools of peace!
    Shine, rain-bow hills! Dream on, fair glimpsèd vale
    In haze of drifting gold! And all sweet birds,
    Sing out your raptures to the radiant leaves!
    And ye, close huddling Men, come forth to stand
    A moment simple in the gaze of God
    That sweeps along your pastures! Breathe his might!
    Lift your blind faces to be filled with day,
    And share his benediction with the flowers.