It’s been awhile since I thumbed through Emily Dickinson’s nature poems, and after revisiting them, I find that I am astonished by their raw beauty and power. We’ve had quite a bit of rain recently, and sometimes, when the storms wake me in the middle of the night, I have trouble getting back to sleep. On one of those restless nights, I discovered the poem below, which captured the feeling of a New England storm perfectly.
The next morning, a thick fog remained throughout the Green River valley. My morning trail run was cool and quiet; forest shrouded in mystery.
THE WIND begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low,—
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.
The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.
The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow; 10
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.
The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands
That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father’s house,
Just quartering a tree.