Paul Hamilton Hayne

A Phantom in the Clouds

ALL day the blast, with furious ramp and roar,
Sweeps the gaunt hill-tops, piles the vapors high,
Thro' infinite distance, up the tortured sky--
Till to one nurtured on the ocean-shore,
It seems--with eyes half-shut to hill and moor--
The anguished sea waves' multitudinous cry--
It changes! deepening . . . Christ! what agony
Doth some doomed spirit on these wild winds outpour!
At last a lull! stirred by slow wafts of air!
When lo! o'er dismal wastes of stormy wreck,
Cloud-wrought, an awful form and face abhorred!
Thine, thine, Iscariot! smitten by mad despair,
With lurid eyeballs strained, and writhing neck,
Round which is coiled a blood-red phantom cord!

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