The Hurricane

JK O'Doherty

The summer's sun was sinking down 'neath Binion's waveless bay,
And burnishing its rippling tide with many a golden ray;
The zephyrs stayed their wanton steps, and hushed their every breath -
The scene was still, the bay was bright and undisturbed as death.
Tall Raghlin looked with queenly pride far out into the main,
And Binion threw its giant shade across the watery plain;
And fair Donaff in distance blue raised up its head on high,
And caught the sun's expiring beams, and kissed the cloudless sky -
No dark spot dimm'd the broad expanse that spann'd the silent sea;
That was fair as eastern bride, and brighter far than she!

A tiny boat, like speck of snow, on ocean's bosom hoar,
Had spread its sails at early morn, and left that lonely shore;
The noontide sun had seen it far out on the watery track,
And vesper lit her dazzling lamp to guide the wanderer back.
The idle sails now flap the mast, no breeze disturbs the sea,
And through Lagg Bar the angry tide for once steals silently;
The boatmen press the pliant oars, and raise the jocund song -
They pass the tower of Malin Head girt round by barriers strong;
And Tullagh's strand is full in view, and seen is rough Maymore -
Full well these boatmen know each spot from Doagh to Leenan Shore!

But just athwart the day-god's track a sudden gloom has passed,
As if the night her sombre veil across the day had cast;
A vivid flash lights up that gloom, the sudden thunder rolls -
It peals along the startled heavens, and roars around the poles.
The gushing rain comes dancing forth in drenching torrents wild,
And leaps the whirlwind from its throne of storms on storm- clouds piled,
It sweeps the main with tyrant might -upheaves the tranquil bay-
And dashes o'er the troubled sea like dolphin at its play;
It crests the wave with snowy foam, throws billows mountain high,
And rears up watery spires that pierce the bosom of the sky!

The storm has ceased, the night is on, and sighs the dying gale,
And quick the swollen streamlets run in murmurs down the vale;
And where's the boat -poor tiny thing -that rode the waves at morn,
And spread in pride its snowy sail like butterfly just born?
And where's the crew that mann'd that boat -Clonmany's seamen bold -
Who feared no tide, disdained all storms, felt not the winter's cold?
They've sunk beneath the billow's breast, down in the salt- sea wave -
No humble cross in hallowed spot shall mark their lonely grave.
Their shroud shall be the sea-weed green, their tomb the ocean sand,
Their epitaph -the tale which tells their fate upon the land.

The summer's sun again looks down on Binion's waveless bay,
And sees no trace which marks the storm that swept it yesterday;
But there are hearts beneath that tide cold, cold as winter's snow,
Which never more shall feel life's joys, nor taste its cup of woe.
On yester-morn those hearts were glad -their life blood bounded free -
The tempest swept across the deep, and sunk them in the sea!
There shall they sleep regarding not the storms that o'er them rave;
No sound of busy life shall break the stillness of their grave;
Eternal hurricanes may roll unheeded o'er their head -
No voice they'll hear but that which cries:- 'Arise, arise ye dead!'

O'Doherty notes -

Born - Derry 1833
Became a bishop in 1889 and wrote the catechism for the dioscese
Died - 1907


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