Mountain Pictures and Others

Storm on Lake Asquam


John Greenleaf Whittier

A CLOUD, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
    On Carmel prophesying rain, began
    To lift itself o’er wooded Cardigan,
Growing and blackening. Suddenly, a flaw

Of chill wind menaced; then a strong blast beat
    Down the long valley’s murmuring pines, and woke
    The noon-dream of the sleeping lake, and broke
Its smooth steel mirror at the mountains’ feet.

Thunderous and vast, a fire-veined darkness swept
    Over the rough pine-bearded Asquam range;
    A wraith of tempest, wonderful and strange,
From peak to peak the cloudy giant stepped.

One moment, as if challenging the storm,
    Chocorua’s tall, defiant sentinel
    Looked from his watch-tower; then the shadow fell,
And the wild rain-drift blotted out his form.

And over all the still unhidden sun,
    Weaving its light through slant-blown veils of rain,
    Smiled on the trouble, as hope smiles on pain;
And, when the tumult and the strife were done,

With one foot on the lake and one on land,
    Framing within his crescent’s tinted streak
    A far-off picture of the Melvin peak,
Spent broken clouds the rainbow’s angel spanned.

Back    |    Words Home    |    John Greenleaf Whittier    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback