Storm

Original Text: 
The Poems of Archibald Lampman, ed. Duncan Campbell Scott (Toronto: George N. Morang, 1900): 30-33, as reprinted in The Poems of Archibald Lampman (including At the Long Sault), intro. by Margaret Coulby of Toronto Press, 1974), and from Among the Millet and Other Poems (Ottawa: Durie, 1888).
1Out of the gray northwest, where many a day gone by
3And evermore the huge frost giants lie,
4    Your wizard guards in vigilance unforgot,
5Out of the gray northwest, for now the bonds are riven,
6On wide white wings your thongless flight is driven,
7    That lulls but resteth not.
8And all the gray day long, and all the dense wild night,
9    Ye wheel and hurry with the sheeted snow,
10By cedared waste and many a pine-dark height,
11    Across white rivers frozen fast below;
12Over the lonely forests, where the flowers yet sleeping
13Turn in their narrow beds with dreams of weeping
14    In some remembered woe;
15Across the unfenced wide marsh levels, where the dry
16    Brown ferns sigh out, and last year's sedges scold
17In some drear language, rustling haggardly
18    Their thin dead leaves and dusky hoods of gold;
19Across gray beechwoods where the pallid leaves unfalling
20In the blind gusts like homeless ghosts are calling
21    With voices cracked and old;
22Across the solitary clearings, where the low
23    Fierce gusts howl through the blinded woods, and round
24The buried shanties all day long the snow
25    Sifts and piles up in many a spectral mound;
26Across lone villages in eerie wildernesses
27Whose hidden life no living shape confesses
28    Nor any human sound;
30    Full of the snow that ever shifts and swells,
31While far above them all their towers of stone
32    Stand and beat back your fierce and tyrannous spells,
33And hour by hour send out, like voices torn and broken
34Of battling giants that have grandly spoken,
35    The veering sound of bells;
36So day and night, O Wind, with hiss and moan you fleet,
37    Where once long gone on many a green-leafed day
38Your gentler brethren wandered with light feet
39    And sang, with voices soft and sweet as they,
40The same blind thought that you with wilder might are speaking,
41Seeking the same strange thing that you are seeking
42    In this your stormier way.
43O Wind, wild-voicèd brother, in your northern cave,
44    My spirit also being so beset
45With pride and pain, I heard you beat and rave,
46    Grinding your chains with furious howl and fret,
47Knowing full well that all earth's moving things inherit
48The same chained might and madness of the spirit,
49    That none may quite forget.
50You in your cave of snows, we in our narrow girth
51    Of need and sense, for ever chafe and pine;
52Only in moods of some demonic birth
53    Our souls take fire, our flashing wings untwine;
54Even like you, mad Wind, above our broken prison,
55With streaming hair and maddened eyes uprisen,
56    We dream ourselves divine;
57Mad moods that come and go in some mysterious way,
58    That flash and fall, none knoweth how or why,
59O Wind, our brother, they are yours today,
60    The stormy joy, the sweeping mastery;
61Deep in our narrow cells, we hear you, we awaken,
62With hands afret and bosoms strangely shaken,
63    We answer to your cry.
64I most that love you, Wind, when you are fierce and free,
65    In these dull fetters cannot long remain;
66Lo, I will rise and break my thongs and flee
67    Forth to your drift and beating, till my brain
68Even for an hour grow wild in your divine embraces,
69And then creep back into mine earthly traces,
70    And bind me with my chain.
71Nay, Wind, I hear you, desperate brother, in your might
72    Whistle and howl; I shall not tarry long,
73And though the day be blind and fierce, the night
74    Be dense and wild, I still am glad and strong
75To meet you face to face; through all your gust and drifting
76With brow held high, my joyous hands uplifting,
77    I cry you song for song.

Notes

2] grot: cavern. Back to Line
29] serried: crowded. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1888
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.
Rhyme: