Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Floods - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In the dark night, from sweet refreshing sleep

I wake to hear outside my window-pane

The uncurbed fury of the wild spring rain,

And weird winds lashing the defiant deep,

And roar of floods that gather strength and leap

Down dizzy, wreck-strewn channels to the main.

I turn upon my pillow and again

Compose myself for slumber.

Let them sweep;

I once survived great floods, and do not fear,

Though ominous planets congregate, and seem

To foretell strange disasters.

From a dream—

Ah! dear God! such a dream!—I woke to hear,

Through the dense shadows lit by no star's gleam,

The rush of mighty waters on my ear.

Helpless, afraid, and all alone, I lay;

The floods had come upon me unaware.

I heard the crash of structures that were fair;

The bridges of fond hopes were swept away

By great salt waves of sorrow. In dismay

I saw by the red lightning's lurid glare

That on the rock-bound island of despair

I had been cast. Till the dim dawn of day

I heard my castles falling, and the roll

Of angry billows bearing to the sea

The broken timbers of my very soul.

Were all the pent-up waters from the whole

Stupendous solar system to break free,

There are no floods that now can frighten me.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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