WITH clamor the wild southwester
Through the wide heaven is roaring,
Ploughing the ocean, and over
The earth its fury outpouring.
Lo, how the vast gray spaces
Wrestle and roll and thunder,
Billow piled upon billow,
Closing and tearing asunder,
As if the deep raged with the anger
Of hosts of the fabulous kraken!
And the firm house shudders and trembles,
Beaten, buffeted, shaken,
Battles the gull with the tempest,
Struggling and wavering and faltering,
Soaring and striving and sinking,
Turning, its high course altering.
Down through the cloudy heaven
Notes from the wild geese are falling;
Cries like harsh bell-tones are ringing,
Echoing, clanging, and calling.
Plunges the schooner landward,
Swiftly the long seas crossing,
Close-reefed, seeking the harbor,
Half lost in the spray she is tossing.
A rift in the roof of vapor!
And stormy sunshine is streaming
To color the gray, wild water
Like chrysoprase, green and gleaming.
Cold and tempestuous ocean,
Ragged rock, brine-swept and lonely,
Grasp of the long, bitter winter -
These things to gladden me only!
Love, dost thou wait for me in some rich land
Where the gold orange hangs in odorous calm?
Where the clear waters kiss the flowery strand,
Bordered with shining sand and groves of palm?
And while this bitter morning breaks for me,
Draws to its close thy warm, delicious day;
Lights, colors, perfumes, music, joy, for thee,
For me the cold, wild sea, the cloudy gray!
Rises the red moon in thy tranquil sky,
Plashes the fountain with its silver talk,
And as the evening wind begins to sigh,
Thy sweet girl’s shape steals down the garden walk.
And through the scented dusk a white robe gleams,
Lingering beneath the starry jasmine sprays,
Till where thy clustered roses breathe in dreams,
A sudden gush of song thy light step stays.
That was the nightingale! O Love of mine,
Hear’st thou my voice in that pathetic song,
Throbbing in passionate cadences divine,
Sinking to silence with its rapture strong?
I stretch my arms to thee through all the cold,
Through all the dark, across the weary space
Between us, and thy slender form I fold,
And gaze into the wonder of thy face.
Pure brow the moonbeam touches, tender eyes
Splendid with feeling, delicate smiling mouth,
And heavy silken hair that darkly lies
Soft as the twilight clouds in thy sweet South, —
O beautiful my Love! In vain I seek
To hold the heavenly dream that fades from me.
I needs must wake with salt spray on my cheek,
Flung from the fury of this northern sea.