Poets | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
August 18th, 2017 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 326,437 comments.
Oliver Wendell Holmes - The September Gale

I'M not a chicken; I have seen 
Full many a chill September, 
And though I was a youngster then, 
That gale I well remember; 
The day before, my kite-string snapped, 
And I, my kite pursuing, 
The wind whisked off my palm-leaf hat; 
For me two storms were brewing!

It came as quarrels sometimes do, 
When married folks get clashing;
There was a heavy sigh or two, 
Before the fire was flashing, 
A little stir among the clouds,
Before they rent asunder,--
A little rocking of the trees, 
And then came on the thunder.

Lord! how the ponds and rivers boiled! 
They seemed like bursting craters! 
And oaks lay scattered on the ground 
As if they were p'taters 
And all above was in a howl, 
And all below a clatter, 
The earth was like a frying-pan, 
Or some such hissing matter.

It chanced to be our washing-day, 
And all our things were drying; 
The storm came roaring through the lines,
And set them all a flying; 
I saw the shirts and petticoats 
Go riding off like witches;
I lost, ah! bitterly I wept,--
I lost my Sunday breeches!

I saw them straddling through the air, 
Alas! too late to win them; 
I saw them chase the clouds, as if 
The devil had been in them; 
They were my darlings and my pride, 
My boyhood's only riches,--
"Farewell, farewell," I faintly cried,--
"My breeches! O my breeches!" 

That night I saw them in my dreams, 
How changed from what I knew them! 
The dews had steeped their faded threads, 
The winds had whistled through them! 
I saw the wide and ghastly rents
Where demon claws had torn them; 
A hole was in their amplest part, 
As if an imp had worn them.

I have had many happy years, 
And tailors kind and clever, 
But those young pantaloons have gone
Forever and forever! 
And not till fate has cut the last 
Of all my earthly stitches, 
This aching heart shall cease to mourn 
My loved, my long-lost breeches! 

Share |

Added: Apr 5 2005 | Viewed: 532 times | Comments and analysis of The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes Comments (1)

The September Gale - Comments and Information

Poet: Oliver Wendell Holmes
Poem: The September Gale
Poem of the Day: Aug 14 2009

Comment 1 of 1, added on January 4th, 2011 at 12:07 PM.
remembered poem

I just found a handwritten copy entitled "Sunday Breeches" of this poem in the affairs of my departed mother. I remember hearing her quote parts of it when I was a child and was thrilled to find the author and original text on line. Thank you.

Ralph C. Lewis

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, The September Gale, has received one comment so far. Click here to read it, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Holmes Info
Copyright © 2000-2015 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links