Storms over Paris

Storms over Paris

I tremble like a restless leaf
And quake beneath the looming clouds
That gather anger in their wake,
And all the earth with darkness shrouds.

That tempest pitch from Sparta comes
Convulsing the Ægean Sea
With ruthless storms toward Ilium,
Where this fair maiden is with me.

Oh, go back Fate to purer days—
When light refulgent filled the skies;
When Troy knew spring, and I knew love;
When joy fell soft from Helen’s eyes …

About this poem

When Paris eloped with Helen from Sparta, ‘stealing’ her away to his homeland of Ilium (i.e. Troy), the entire Greek world of the Achaeans sought revenge and set out over the black Ægean Sea to wreak havoc on the Trojans. This is hardly typical of my method, but in this particular case the title of the poem proceeded the poem itself. I thought it would be fun to have an innocently deceptive title, so that whoever saw it would think that the poem would be about rain showers over Paris, France—not the looming destruction of Troy.  

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Submitted by Vixility on May 14, 2024

Modified by Vixility on May 15, 2024

26 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 458
Words 88
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 1, 4, 4, 4

John W. May

John W. May has lived in Colorado all his life. He currently works in the field of ophthalmology and loves to mountain bike and read about history. John first became a lover of poetry in 2008 after having read a poem by John Milton. He has been reading and studying the works of various poets since. His favorite poets are Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Tyutchev and W. B. Yeats. more…

All John W. May poems | John W. May Books

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Discuss the poem Storms over Paris with the community...

  • nwafor_a
    Strong metaphors. I like the way you use imagery like a spell.
    LikeReply 15 days ago
    • Vixility
      Nwafor! I could say the same of your poetry. Your flower poem—exquisite language. And “Crushed”, my God vivid (I like that Macbeth line).

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for stopping by
      LikeReply4 days ago
  • JdeLorenzo08
    Beautiful poem, I'm new here and stopping in to check out fellow poets and their work. Nice work, I really enjoyed your piece.
    LikeReply 110 days ago
    • Vixility
      Hey, nice to see you here! Stopped by your page and enjoyed your work as well. Hope to see more!
      LikeReply9 days ago
  • npirandy
    You are the master of poetic verse. Admittedly, I am but a humble blue collar bloke who sometimes fails to understand legendary references. That doesn't make this any less enjoyable. You were worried about a comma. Sometimes, I don't even know if I need a period! 
    LikeReply 210 days ago
    • Vixility
      That is way too kind an exaggeration, Randy, but thank you nonetheless. Like I said before, I’ve been a fan of your works for nearly two years. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in the next contest.

      Thank you for stopping by and checking out this piece.
      LikeReply9 days ago
  • talygarza
    Congrats, the poem enlightens since the point of view of Paris his difficult feelings.
    LikeReply 111 days ago
    • Vixility
      Hey, thank you Talia! (Can I call you Talia?) I really enjoyed trying to imagine the dire situation from Paris’ perspective: what kind of fear did he feel (did he feel fear), would he abandon Helen (of course he wouldn’t abandon Helen), and what would it be that he would desire differently from the scourge of impending warfare (serenity one love, of course).

      The REALLY fun and challenging part is that I wanted to see if I could convey all this adequately in just three stanzas. Hope it worked …

      Thank you for swinging by and leaving a comment.
      LikeReply 110 days ago
  • Symmetry60
    Good heavens, man! I don't know whether to toss my pen into the sea or cry like a little girl. Something about this invoked a sense that I've lived before to experience what you've written. Do you ever feel like you carry some memory of a past life? I feel, at times, like I do. It's odd.

    Talk about crescendo:
    "Oh, go back Fate to purer days --
    When light refulgent filled the skies;
    When Troy knew spring, and I knew love;
    When joy fell soft from Helen's eyes.

    You have writing right down to the dash, hyphen, semicolon, apostrophe, comma, period and so on. I note the use of capitalization on certain terms to denote a significance to the word, a la, "Fate." You understand the use of possessives such as, "Helen's eyes," with an apostrophe referring to her eyes. I get very particular about this myself right down to the comma following the word "Oh" used as an exclamatory. Such sticklers we be. LoL

    LikeReply 211 days ago
    • Vixility
      Funny thing about that line: “Oh, go back Fate”. I spent a significant amount of time debating the use of a comma there. In Standard English a comma is imperative, but I figured that since a line is written in meter and has to follow a certain rhythmic cadence, a comma could be detrimental.

      The question for me is “do I want the caesura or not”. In that mosquito poem I omitted it from the line “Well who am I to hold a grudge” because I felt adding a comma would disrupt the flow. I know an English professor would nail me on it, but I figured “If Emily Dickinson can get away with her breaches of Standard English, so can I”.

      Thanks again, Steve, for stopping by. I appreciate your time, talent and poetry.
      LikeReply 311 days ago
    • susan.brumel
      That is also my favorite line of the poem! Bravo, my friend
      LikeReply 211 days ago
    • Vixility
      I wish there was a ‘heart button’ on this thing ❤️
      LikeReply 111 days ago
    • susan.brumel
      I agree!
      LikeReply11 days ago
    • Symmetry60
      I've done the same by omitting punctuation I felt might stutter an otherwise flowing cadence. I do it with the word "too" at times when it's mid-sentence. It's too distracting to the eye at times. I'll also capitalize certain words for pertinence' sake when need be - "Mom, Dad, Sir, Earth, etc.

      In any regard, another masterclass by you, sir.
      LikeReply 211 days ago
  • cokerrogers
    Too cool man. Im assuming you were watching a storm roll in but may I ask what season? Im guessing early autumn? Forgive me if my interpretation is off but either way I was transported the battle of troy only it was in the clouds above paris. Your style has influenced me with this one. Thanks John. 
    LikeReply 111 days ago
    • Vixility
      My style influences? I could easily say the same of your works … your poem “Lava Lake History of the World” is fire! Literally. I’ll be around to read more of your works.

      Thank you for swinging by and leaving a comment. 
      LikeReply 111 days ago
  • kem330
    This was beautifully written. I really enjoyed reading this and its clearly deep meanings depicted within the mere words. Loved it.
    LikeReply 211 days ago
    • Vixility
      I just visited your page to read some of your works … wow! What a strong and creative person you are. I’m so glad you have support both here and beyond. Have you ever considered writing a book? I would purchase it in a heartbeat …

      Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for your kind comment.
      LikeReply11 days ago
  • susan.brumel
    I wish my commentary matched yours in its eloquence. But sadly, it doesn’t, so I will say in my own way- I love this poem! I like its traditional style, its imagery, and the imagination it took to write it. Gives the brain a healthy twist, in the discovery of what’s transpiring on the page. Great piece, John. Thank you for sharing it. 
    LikeReply 212 days ago
    • Vixility
      Oh man! Thank you for stopping by and checking out the poem. Having become one of the biggest fans of your own writing, your comment is for me tremendously meaningful!

      Thank you, Sue
      LikeReply 212 days ago
    • cokerrogers
      I agree. He is a very inspiring talent.
      LikeReply 111 days ago


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"Storms over Paris" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <>.

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