The Flood

[Image: Kathryn Parsons]

On Lolham Brigs in wild & lonely mood
Ive seen the winter floods their gambols play
Through each old arch that trembled while I stood
Bent oer its wall to watch the dashing spray
As their old stations would be washed away
Crash came the ice against the jambs & then
A shudder jarred the arches—yet once more
It breasted raving waves & stood agen
To wait the shock as stubborn as before
—White foam brown crested with the russet soil
As washed from new ploughed lands—would dart beneath
Then round & round a thousand eddies boil
On tother side—then pause as if for breath
One minute—& ingulphed—like life in death

Whose wrecky stains dart on the floods away
More swift then shadows in a stormy day
Things trail & turn & steady—all in vain
The engulphing arches shoot them quickly through
The feather dances flutters & again
Darts through the deepest dangers still afloat
Seeming as faireys whisked it from the view
& danced it oer the waves as pleasures boat
Light hearted as a merry thought in may—
Trays—uptorn bushes—fence demolished rails
Loaded with weeds in sluggish motion stray
Like water monsters lost each winds & trails
Till near the arches—then as in affright
It plunges—reels—& shudders out of sight

Waves trough—rebound—& fury boil again
Like plunging monsters rising underneath
Who at the top curl up a shaggy main
A moment catching at a surer breath
Then plunging headlong down & down—& on
Each following boil the shadow of the last
& other monsters rise when those are gone
Crest their fringed waves—plunge onward & are past
—The chill air comes around me ocean blea
From bank to bank the water strife is spread
Strange birds like snow spots oer the huzzing sea
Hang where the wild duck hurried past & fled
—On roars the flood—all restless to be free
Like trouble wandering to eternity

MP IV 234

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