Under the sky's gray arch;
Smiling, I watch the shaken elm-boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.
Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude.
Welcome to waiting ears its harsh forewarning
Of light and warmth to come,
The longed-for joy of Nature's Easter morning,
The earth arisen in bloom.
In the loud tumult winter's strength is breaking;
I listen to the sound,
As to a voice of resurrection, waking
To life the dead, cold ground.
Between these gusts, to the soft lapse I hearken
Of rivulets on their way;
I see these tossed and naked tree-tops darken
With the fresh leaves of May.
This roar of storm, this sky so gray and lowering
Invite the airs of Spring,
A warmer sunshine over fields of flowering,
The bluebird's song and wing.
Closely behind, the Gulf's warm breezes follow
This northern hurricane,
And, borne thereon, the bobolink and swallow
Shall visit us again.
And, in green wood-paths, in the kine-fed pasture
And by the whispering rills,
Shall flowers repeat the lesson of the Master,
Taught on his Syrian hills.
Blow, then, wild wind! thy roar shall end in singing,
Thy chill in blossoming;
Come, like Bethesda's troubling angel, bringing
The healing of the Spring.
John Greenleaf Whittier, American Quaker poet (1807-1892), At Sundown