Ian Hamilton’s “The Storm”

Miles off, a storm breaks. It ripples to our room.
You look up into the light so it catches one side
Of your face, your tight mouth, your startled eye.
You turn to me and when I call you come
Over and kneel beside me, wanting me to take
Your head between my hands as if it were
A delicate bowl that the storm might break.
You want me to get between you and the brute thunder.
Settling on your flesh my great hands stir,
Pulse on you and the then, wondering how to do it, grip,
The storm rolls through me as your mouth opens.

As many of you know, I have previously posted several of Ian Hamilton’s poems, and in fact, intended to stop at his Prayer. But I have continued reading his work and cannot stop myself from posting a few more of his poems that I have come to admire.

This is an incredible poem. It builds tension so quickly that it really does feel like a storm is coming. But it is the interaction between the two characters of ‘the voice’ and ‘the other,’ that is amazing here. The voice calling for the fearful other, the gentle touching, the clear insight into the fear that is felt. Obviously there is kindness, empathy, love and trust, but then, at the end, as with all of Hamilton’s poetry, total and complete honesty and the explosion of an unexpected reality of pain, sorrow and regret.

I am not sure what the storm really was, although I suspect it is Hamilton’s first’s wife’s mental illness. But it doesn’t matter. This poem is so cathartic in nature that it expands into all human existence. Anyone who has loved and felt the beloved’s pain understands this poem well. All too well.

Click here for a list of the other Ian Hamilton poems on the Book of Pain.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to: his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “The Storm”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


Comments © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved.


Filed under Poetry

8 responses to “Ian Hamilton’s “The Storm”

  1. Yes, I have enjoyed these poems, John. Thank you.

    • Julia, Thank you so much for the support! Been very busy at work lately, plus end-of-season cycling and starting a new course. Been very busy, sadly.

      • Hey John, it’s good to be busy doing the things you like to do. I am also very busy – mainly with things I’ve chosen. Managing to get a bit of writing done now and again though x

      • Julia, please, please, PLEASE tell me your secret! I keep waiting for my life to become less complicated and all it does is become more so. This coming long (for us) weekend I am hoping to catching up on some reading, some of which will include the poetry of dear friends. That notion will, of course, start with A Place for Poetry!

  2. Man. He’s insanely good. It has something to do with his use of enjambment — you feel like you’re wandering through a remembered landscape. He also doesn’t overwork his stuff; the descriptions are sharp and to the point.

    Thanks for posting these. I can’t find that much of Hamilton elsewhere on the web.

  3. John, in a world of coldness and stress, it is such a good thing to read your posts that have great content and a passion for poetry. This guy, Ian Hamilton … I confess that I have never heard of him before my visit to your blog. He’s an intense writer. Just a layman’s opinion … but what you posted of his poem fits, I think, with the possibility of his wife experiencing mental illness … Truly a storm. I hope you are well, friend. I hope you are getting some cycling in. T

    • Actually, end-of-season cycling is one of my excuses. We are all doing longer rides gearing up for the Century and Metric Centuries of the next few months. That, plus work, plus an on-line course…life is hectic. Thank you so much for the support on the Ian Hamilton poems…I had never heard of him before a post on The Bully Pulpit and since then, reading his work has been like an explosion in me. I hope you are well too and gearing up for the skiing season.