“Markwell, Mary” [Kate Simpson Hayes]. “A Prairie Storm.” The Week (28 Feb. 1896).

I just love the word prairie… there is something balanced and yet asymmetrical about the arrangement of the letters tat pleases me. Hence the inclusion of a number of poets’ creations featuring the Prairies.

A Prairie Storm


The mudded shack shakes at the roar
Of north wind down the white waste hissing,
Snow-wreaths go whirling on before
The Furies, clasped, and madly kissing!
Roof-high the drifts, blocked is the trail,
The stacks of yellow grain are whitened;
And here and there a broken rail
Lies, where the sweeping gale had heightened.
The branching poplars bend and sway;
Within the bluffs the cattle shiver,
The pallid grasses parched and gray
Fringe all the ice-bound sloughs. The river,
Like some dead form, lies draped in white—
Its voice is stilled—stilled is its sighing;
The last snow-bird has taken flight;
Gray clouds in wild retreat are flying.


The moaning of the wind grows low—
Repentant sobs of Nature, grieving—
Wind-swept, the pallid grasses show,
Their tendrils kindly interweaving.
Adown the way fall slanting beams
Of gold that woo the Furies sleeping,
And from the west soft melting streams
Set every thatchèd roof a-weeping.


So is it with our human wills
When swayed by Passions, dark and blinding;
Adown life’s path light coming, thrills,
Time’s sunset soothes new patience finding.
Oh, storm-tossed hearts hurt by the blast!
Through angry years God’s pity blending—
His Face the kindly Light at last;
Our falling tears, His Peace descending!

Regina, N. W. T. Mary Markwell