I wanted the sweep of the wild wet weather,
The wind’s long lash and the rain’s free fall,
The toss of the trees as they swayed together,
The measureless grey that was over them all;
Whose roar speaks more than a language spoken;
Wordless and wonderful, cry on cry—
The sob of an earth that is vexed and broken,
The answering sob of a broken sky.
What could they tell us? We see them ever—
The trees and the sky and the stretch of the land;
But they give us a word of their secret never;
They tell no story we understand.
Yet haply the ghost-like birch out yonder
Knows much in a placid and silent way;
The rain might tell what the grey clouds ponder,
The winds repeat what the violets say.
Why weeps the rain? Do you know its sorrow?
Do you know why the wind is so sad—so sad?
Have you stood in the rift ‘twixt a day aud a morrow,
Seen their hands meet and their eyes grow glad
Is the tree’s pride stung at its top’s abasement?
Is the white rose more of a saint than the red?
What thinks the star as it sees through the casement
A young girl lying, beautiful, dead?
Ainigmata by Barry Pain, 1892, from Stories and Interludes.
Photograph of lightening over Henderson, Nevada, by Thomas Dwyer, April 2011