So lone I stood, the very trees seemed drawn
In conference with themselves. - Intense - intense
Seemed everything; - the summer splendor on
The sight, - magnificence!
A babe's life might not lighter fail and die
Than failed the sunlight - Though the hour was noon,
The palm of midnight might not lighter lie
Upon the brow of June.
With eyes upraised, I saw the underwings
Of swallows - gone the instant afterward -
While from the elms there came strange twitterings,
Stilled scarce ere they were heard.
The river seemed to shiver; and, far down
Its darkened length, I saw the sycamores
Lean inward closer, under the vast frown
That weighed above the shores.
Then was a roar, born of some awful burst! -
And one lay, shrieking, chattering, in my path -
Flung - he or I - out of some space accurst
As of Jehovah's wrath:
Nor barely had he wreaked his latest prayer,
Ere back the noon flashed o'er the ruin done,
And, o'er uprooted forests touseled there,
The birds sang in the sun.
The Cyclone. by James Whitcomb Riley