Monday, 4 November 2019

Poetry Revisited: In the Rushing Wind by Carmen Sylva

In the Rushing Wind

(from Sweet Hours: 1904)

THE wind hath whirled the leaves from off the tree.
The leaves were yellow, they had lived their time,
And lie a golden heap or fly away,
As if the butterflies had left their wings
Behind, when love's short summertime had gone,
And killed them. Lightly doth the leaves' great shower
Whirl on and skim the ground, where ancient leaves
Lie rotten, trampled on, so featureless,
That you can hardly tell what formed that mould,
That never-ending burial-place of leaves.
And then the wind will shake and bend the tree,
And twist its branches off, burst it asunder,
Uproot the giant and bring low his head,
Upheave the granite block round which the roots
Had taken hold for countless centuries.
On goes the wind! The corn is green and soft—
Earth's wavy fur. It does but ripple lightly
In childish laughter at the harmless fun
That was a death-blow. But the sea awakes
And frowns and foams and rises into anger
So wild with wrath, and yet so powerless,
As if a thousand chains had chained it down,
To howl, to suffer, to rebel against
The heartless merriment of stronger powers.
On goes the wind, to shake the rock, to blow
Into a flame, the wild incendiary,
And never doth he look behind, to see,
To feel, to understand the horror he
Hath worked. The breath—the robe of Destiny—
Sweeps on, sweeps past, and never lists that hell
And heaven have awaked, in shrieking anguish,
But blows the clouds away, laughs at the sun,
And falls into unconscious, dreamless sleep.

Carmen Sylva (1843-1916), real name Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise of Wied
Queen Consort of Romania and Romanian writer

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