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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hatteras Calling by Conrad Aiken

Southeast, and storm, and every weathervane 
shivers and moans upon its dripping pin, 
ragged on chimneys the cloud whips, the rain 
howls at the flues and windows to get in, 
the golden rooster claps his golden wings 
and from the Baptist Chapel shrieks no more, 
the golden arrow in the southeast sings 
and hears on the roof the Atlantic Ocean roar. 
Waves among wires, sea scudding over poles, 
down every alley the magnificence of rain, 
dead gutters live once more, the deep manholes 
hollow in triumph a passage to the main. 
Umbrellas, and in the Gardens one old man 
hurries away along a dancing path, 
listens to music on a watering-can, 
observes among the tulips the sudden wrath, 
pale willows thrashing to the needled lake, 
and dinghies filled with water; while the sky 
smashes the lilacs, swoops to shake and break, 
till shattered branches shriek and railings cry. 
Speak, Hatteras, your language of the sea: 
scour with kelp and spindrift the stale street: 
that man in terror may learn once more to be 
child of that hour when rock and ocean meet.

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