Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Storm on Saugonnet

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

New England: Seaconnet Point, R. I.

Storm on Saugonnet

By George S. Burleigh (1821–1903)

ROUND and red in a golden haze

Had the sun gone up from his eastern bed

For days and days, and as round and red

The sun had gone down for days and days.

The windless hills were bathed in the gold

Of their own autumnal atmosphere,—

The thousand hues of the parting year

In their banners of glory mixed, fold on fold.

Round and red in the midnight sky

The lone moon rode with never a star,—

The bronzed right wheel of her noiseless car

With a broad tire girdling her throne on high.

Then came the storm with its signal drum,

All night we heard on the eastern shore

The steady booming and muffled roar

Of the great waves’ tramp ere the winds had come!

They came with the morning! the lurid glow

Of the sunrise into black ashes burned;

The torn clouds whirled, overturned and turned,

Wrung till they streamed with a torrent’s flow.

With the measured march of a mighty host

The ground-swell came, with wave upon wave,

On the red Saugonnet rocks they drave,

And scattered their foam over leagues of coast.

Out of the Infinite, up from the smoke

Of the watery Gehenna the wild waves rose,

Lashed into wrath by invisible foes,

On the crags of the headland their fury broke.

Spectral and dim over sunk Cuttywow

The white spray hung, but ye heard no shock,

For the liquid thunder on red Wall Rock

Crushed out all sound with its deafening blow.

From the granite jaws of the Clump, the foam

Of a maniac wrath was drifted, white,

Snowed on the blast with the snowy flight

Of the screaming gulls driven out from home.

In the swirl of the Hopper the waves were ground

To impalpable dust; the Ridge Rock roared

To the crash of a new Niagara poured

Right up the crags with a slippery bound!

Over Brenton’s Reef where the west hung black,

O’er the cloudy bar of the Cormorant Rocks,

The white seas hurried in huddling flocks

With the wolf-winds howling along their track.

They came and went in a wavering mist,

The phantoms that hung on the skirts of the blast;

While the nearer Cliff his defiance cast;

Maddening the seas with his granite fist.

Far inland the moan of the tempest told

What war was waged on the crumbling crags,

How the charging billows were torn on jags

Of the Island Cliff as they backward rolled.