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“We are the birds of the coming storm.” — August Spies

The tide is out, the wind blows off the shore;
Bare burn the white sands in the scorching sun;
The sea complains, but its great voice is low.

Bitter thy woes, O People,
And the burden
Hardly to be borne!
Wearily grows, O People,
All the aching
Of thy pierced heart, bruised and torn!
But yet thy time is not,
And low thy moaning.
Desert thy sands!
Not yeat is thy breath hot, Vengefully blowing;
It wafts o’er lifted hands.

The tide has turned; the vane veers slowly round;
Slow clouds are sweeping o’er the blinding light;
White crests curl on the sea — its voice grows deep.

Angry thy heart, O People!
And its bleeding
Fire-tipped with rising hate!
Thy clasped hands part, O People,
For thy praying Warmed not the desolate!
God did not hear thy moan:
Now it is swelling
To a great drowning cry;
A dark wind-cloud, a groan, Now backward veering
From that deaf sky!

The tide flows in, the wind roars from the depths,
The whirled-White sand heaps with the foam-white waves;
Thundering the sea rolls o’er its shell-crunched wall!

Strong is thy rage, O People,
In its fury
Hurling thy tyrants down!
Thow metest wage, O People.
Very swiftly,
Now that thy hate is grown:
Thy time at last is come;
Thou heapest anguish,
Where thou thyself wert bare!
No longer to thy dumb.
God clasped and kneeling.
Thou answerest thine own prayer.

— Sea Isle City, New Jersey, August 1889

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