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Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

        The Rising of the Storm

        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!


The above poem can be found in:
  • Dunbar, Paul Laurence. Lyrics of Lowly Life. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1895.