To Frighten a Storm

By Gladys Cardiff b. 1942 Gladys Cardiff
O now you come in rut,
in rank and black desire,
to beat the brush, to lash
the wind with your long hair.
Ha! I am afraid,
exceedingly afraid.
But see? her path goes there,
along the swaying tops
of trees, up to the hills.
Too long she is alone.
Bypass our fields, and mount
your ravages of fire
and rain on higher trails.
You shall have her lying down
upon the smoking mountains.

Gladys Cardiff, “To Frighten a Storm” from To Frighten a Storm. Copyright © 1976 by Gladys Cardiff. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: To Frighten a Storm (Copper Canyon Press, 1976)

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Poet Gladys Cardiff b. 1942

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Weather


A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, Gladys Cardiff was born in Browning, Montana, and grew up in Seattle, Washington. Her mother was of Irish and Welsh descent, her father a member of the Owl clan of the North Carolina Cherokee. Cardiff received an MFA from the University of Washington, where she studied with the poet Theodore Roethke, and a PhD in literature from Western Michigan University.
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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Weather

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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