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Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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!

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar's other poems:
  1. Premonition
  2. Whittier
  3. Retort
  4. The Master-Player
  5. Unexpressed

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