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Thunder / Elizabeth Bishop

I love Elizabeth Bishop's poetry. The Moose and The Sandpiper are both masterpieces. But I came across this uncollected sonnet of hers from 1928 and it contains lots that I like about her work: nods to the supernatural, fearless rhymes and lines that "feel" correct even as you wonder what they mean.

The last line of this poem is an example of that! I will never hear thunder the same way...


And suddenly the giants tired of play. --

With huge, rough hands they flung the gods' gold balls

And silver harps and mirrors at the walls

Of Heaven, and trod, ashamed, where lay

The loveliness of flowers. Frightened Day

On white feet ran from out the temple halls,

The blundering dark was filled with great war-calls,

And Beauty, shamed, slunk silently away.

Be quiet, little wind among the leaves

That turn pale faces to the coming storm.

Be quiet, little foxes in your lairs,

And birds and mice be still - a giant grieves

For his forgotten might. Hark now the warm

And heavy stumbling down the leaden stairs!

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