“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
- Simonides of Ceos

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Friday, March 25, 2016

"Ballad Of The Tempest" by James Thomas Fields

This beautiful, narrative poem was first published in 1849 in a volume titled "Poems", just a few years after James Thomas Fields became a partner in a Boston publishing firm. Several of Fields' works reference the sea which may have been due to the fact that his father was a sea captain, although he died when Fields was quite young. After James Thomas Fields' death in 1881 at the age of 63, two of Fields' contemporaries, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote poems in his memory.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Jeffrey K. Holbrook
Composer: Brandon Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Brandon Boone
Photography: Brigitte Werner
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for James Thomas Fields
Bio of James Thomas Fields on AllPoetry.com
Analysis of "Ballad Of The Tempest" from Karnataka Open Educational Resources
Presentation-style analysis of the poem by Adrianne Guimond

James Thomas Fields
Photo Credit: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:James_Thomas_Fields

Ballad Of The Tempest by James Thomas Fields

WE were crowded in the cabin,
  Not a soul would dare to sleep,--
It was midnight on the waters,
  And a storm was on the deep.

'Tis a fearful thing in winter
  To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
  Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,--
  For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring
  And the breakers talked with death.

As thus we sat in darkness
  Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted,
  As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
  As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God upon the ocean,
  Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden,
  And we spake in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbor
  When the morn was shining clear.