Study Guide

Bearded Oaks Stanza 5

By Robert Penn Warren

Stanza 5

Lines 17-20

The storm of noon above us rolled,
Of light the fury, furious gold,
The long drag troubling us, the depth:
Unrocked is dark, unrippling, still.

  • Cast your eyes upwards and backwards, Shmoopers. Still got your balance? Great. Now behold "the storm of noon." It doesn't seem to be an actual storm, more like a rolling tumult—the energy of daytime's drive and striving all rolled together in one big ball. It's all "light" and "fury"… and treasure? Probably not. "Furious gold" more likely describes what kind of light is happening here: bright, shiny, and aggro to the max. 
  • It's not all about the bling, though. Something about the "long drag" troubles us (it is a drag, after all). But maybe the speaker means a kind of undertow? Or is he talking about a downward pull towards levels far below the "storm of moon" above?
  • Whatever it is, this "depth" is disturbing, that's for sure.
  • Know what else seems disturbing? The dark that is "Unrocked," and "unrippling" (two "un-" words, count 'em). As we said before, by using these "un" words, the speaker can make you think of rocking and rippling, even as he says it's not happening.
  • He's describing stillness and what came before it, and he's doing it simultaneously. This dark sounds pretty deathly, doesn't it?
  • We don't know about you, but we'd almost prefer the storm of noon to this deep stillness. 
  • For the record, you might want to take look at what's happened to the rhyme scheme now: AABC. Things are getting kind of rearranged, as the poem becomes more abstract. (Psst—"Form and Meter" has more good stuff on rhyme scheme.)

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