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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!