Poem: Lightning on the Lookout
Now a thunder storm will command respect
   Wherever the lightning flashes;
But the wickedest place in a storm I know
   Is on top of a mountain in Idaho,
Where Jupiter Pluvius lets her go,
   And Thor with his thunder crashes.
You sit in a shack with a roof of tin
   And a stovepipe a-stickin' thru,
A telephone line and some iron tie prods,
   Defying the two above-mentioned gods
To melt that assortment of lightning rods,
   And sizzle your carcass, too.
The lookout is held to the topmost rock,
   With glass all around to show,
In the blinding flashes, a tree outside
   With a lightning splinter along one side,
And a glimpse of a chasm both steep and wide
   For thousands of feet below.
The clouds roll'd down on that mountain top
   To scatter their charge of fire,
The telephone wiring would snap and crack
   And St. Elmo's fire on the lookout shack
Would flash from the wire to the roof and back
   Suggesting my funeral pyre.
Then the clatter of hail on the broad tin roof
   And the howl of the whooping gale
Were drowned in the thunder that ripped & rolled
   Rattled and echoed a thousand fold
'Til my hair stood up and my blood ran cold
   And even my tan grew pale.
You may tell of prayers that are said in church
   And those that are said in bed:
If the prayers that I made for my wicked past
   And the good resolutions I made so fast
Had been only partially made to last,
   What a different life I'd 'a led!
But since my return from that lookout shack
   No lightning that flashes here,
No thunder that rolls and no gale that blows
   No hail that rattles, or sleets or snows
Can add one bit to my tale of woes;
   I've a paralyzed sense of fear.
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