Ike Watch 2 and Poetry Friday

Well, we evacuated. Or rather we were told to evacuate, and we obeyed. We’re in Fort Worth now. The traffic wasn’t too bad; it only took us seven hours to get here from South Houston. We left twenty year old Computer Guru Son in Houston to weather the storm and take care of the house, at his insistence. He’s young and thinks he’s invincible. However, he promised to move farther north into Houston if things get too bad or if he loses electricity.

So here’s a nice Poetry Friday hurricane poem to cheer us all up as we think: it could have been much worse. It could have been the wreck of the Hesperus.

The Wreck of the Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughtèr,
To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.

The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailòr,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
“I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.

“Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!”
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.

Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable’s length.

“Come hither! come hither! my little daughtèr,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow.”

He wrapped her warm in his seaman’s coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.

“O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
Oh say, what may it be?”
“‘T is a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!” —
And he steered for the open sea.

“O father! I hear the sound of guns,
Oh say, what may it be?”
“Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!”

“O father! I see a gleaming light,
Oh say, what may it be?”
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That savèd she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave
On the Lake of Galilee.

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow’rds the reef of Norman’s Woe.

And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman’s Woe!

Poetry Friday is at Bibliofile today.

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6 thoughts on “Ike Watch 2 and Poetry Friday

  1. Wow; what a poem. I guess ‘The Perfect Storm’ isn’t the first exploration of human arrogance, huh?

    Praying for you and your family…

  2. Thanks for the update on your doings. I prayed for y’all last night and this morning and while I was watching the weather channel I worried for you – now I’ll pray your son and home are protected, and that you don’t feel any devastation in Ft. Worth.

    (Back in 1989 we evacuated from Beaufort, S.C. for Hurricane Hugo – it was mandatory, because we lived on the Beaufort River – and went to Columbia, S.C. Columbia was right in the hurricane’s path, and we were slammed hard. Meanwhile, Beaufort was on the eastern side of the hurricane, and got a little wind and rain, but no real damage – not even the power went out.)

  3. Glad that the evacuation wasn’t too bad for you. I’ll be thinking of your son, holding down the fort, and hoping this thing slows down…

  4. Pingback: Favorite Poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at Semicolon

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