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Thunderstorm Poems

Table of Contents

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

  1. The Thunder-Storm

    by Amos Russel Wells

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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,

  16. 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—

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

  17. The Thunderstorm

    by Eugene J. Hall

    Down the mountains darkly creeping,
    Through the woodlands wildly sweeping,
    The storm bursts on the land.
    The rain is pouring,
    The wind is loudly roaring
    In tones sublime and grand.
    Flashing, crashing, growling, grumbling,
    Rumbling, rumbling, rolling, rumbling,
    Comes the thunderstorm.

    Round and round the birds are flying,
    Loudly screaming, sharply crying;
    They fear the falling rain.
    The windows rattle,
    The frightened sheep and cattle
    Come leaping down the lane.
    Flashing, crashing, growling, grumbling,
    Rumbling, rumbling, rolling, rumbling,
    Comes the thunderstorm.

    Soon the mountain-tops glow brightly,
    And the raindrops patter lightly
    Upon the roof o'erhead;
    The sunbeams tender
    Break through the clouds in splendor,
    The thunderstorm has fled.
    Flashing, crashing, growling, grumbling,
    Rumbling, rumbling, rolling, rumbling,
    Dies the thunderstorm.

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