That Night It Rained

That night it rained, the tide was high,
A heavy, grey fog covered all the coast,
The breakers barked like dogs, the waves
Joined their black sobs to the weeping of the sky,
Infinity shook and in its urn mixed up
The dark whirlings of the nocturnal abyss.
The night's mouths seemed to roar in the air
I heard the warning cannon by the sea.
Sailors in danger calling for help.
In the shade where blast followed blast,
Without pilot, without mast, without anchor or shelter,
Some lost vessel let out its last cry.
I left. An old woman, passing by troubled,
Told me: 'It perished. It's a little fishing boat.
I ran to the sea side and only saw a shroud
Of fog, and of night, and of horror, and me alone;
And the wave, turning its face to the abyss,
As if to send away a witness to its crime,
Furious, begin to howl after me.

What are you then, jealous God, God of testing and terror,
God of collapses, of gulfs, of storms,
That you are not happy with so many shipwrecks,
That after swallowing so many strong and mighty,
You still have time left for the ordinary man,
That upon the least forehead your arm leaves its mark,
And that even after France, you still needed that boat!

by Victor Marie Hugo

Comments (1)

A poem of strong emotions