Early morning—hearing the rain—
the long-awaited rain that even wants in—
that patters against the house
and flickers through the trees.
I can see it through my listening.
I can feel the rain-shadows
under the street lights.
What is this absorption that I feel—
that I listen with such attention, as it builds,
that I close my book and listen to the rain . . . .
oh the rain oh
falls so loosely
it has little spaces between it
the air is opening its mouth
the rain is closing around thirst
the rain is pressing its spaces together
the gills of the air
are letting the people swim through
they huddle and hurry
bending their heads
under plastic umbrellas
knowing only about themselves
learning no new love
outside in the exultation
the rain and the air
are tasting each other
(first pub. in Hard Pressed, 1975)
WINTER ROOM, FILLED WITH RAIN
In a room filled with rain, the windows
are bleared so the wind can’t follow.
The curtains make no movement. The
bed is smoothed and the mirror is dark,
without a reflection. The room is filled
with rain; and it is not a weeping, it is
a soft relinquent rain.
The walls stream
with rain-light, pulled back to a feeling
of lost dimension. The floor becomes a
soft mud. In an old wet picture on a wall
two staring people are looking back into
the room, for the room is filled with such
an archaic perfection they long to return to it.
AGAINST THE ELEMENTS
After “Summer Rain” by Amy Lowell
It was not rain,
but the blue sound of listening,
our defense against the elements—
a blue swirl like a sea of changing colors,
like the churn of emotion that leads to tears,
—tension thick as a dream.
The room was too full of electricity.
We sparked at word,
Shadows went haywire.
We could not find the door,
it had grown into the wall.
The ceiling bristled. Window glass
threatened to break and drown us.
Rain was never
only the old rumor
of tidal waves and tsunami ever/
always in their path swerving around us.
Tears are not the rain.
our weeping was useless—
always threatening to love each other,
the blue sound growing louder—sense of
pattering on the roof—the way our eyes
held each other in the cold fury of calmness.
I HAVE NOT WALKED IN THE RAIN
in your little safe house
being the wife
touching the things you own
cannot know where the edge is
it is in this poem
where it cuts
as it does my own
are jealous of the
and your words must be
quick and loud
and filled to the brim with
we spill ourselves
so many afternoons
of living the fragments
I cannot tell you any more
how the vision blurs
to any clarity
little by little
you believe my sadness
I have told you
how it will be
each stage of resignation
there is no warning
we use the habit of
to deny the desperation
NIGHT RAIN BLUES
“Our house was in sound of the church bells”
Who hears the bell-sound in the rain
—the soft wet dripping as it
muffles the neighborhood,
or is it the hollow song of the
rooster from somewhere in the
The rain makes everything
hollow; its waning fills
the night, which is morning.
How can one bear the realities that
stifle and insinuate themselves
with such knowing ?
It is all helpless irony—the rain
that is here, and welcome—
the rooster’s wet crying.
There are too many sorrows to share.
They are swift and brimming.
They are released at this hour.
Oh, do not mind them,
they are harmless
OLD CITY-SCAPE IN ITS RECALL
After "Rain" by John Salminen
Soft as its own shadow in the receding mist,
the gray building—not really there—not
the slow figures moving in the rain, nor
the wet trees without their leaves, or
the black posts of the street lamps
in long formal rows. Wide blue
shadows catch at the light the
rain keeps pouring through.
The strolling figures
never reach the end
of the public walk.
Cars stay parked.
This is a silent rain
for the time it takes for
memory to remember : it was like this,
just like this rain, only longer and farther
than this place, only a depiction, only this
slow recall, the gray transparent building
still shimmering apart against the sky.
DRIPPING, THE RAIN
ping, the rain
in all ser-
s to fall
eyed world which
get how long th-
is has ta-
get this far
will you turn and look
n e w ?
UNDER THE SLOW BEGINNING OF THE RAIN
Caged moment. I lie like an invalid.
Sounds carry now and I am their listener.
The rooster in the cage crows just the same.
The sound is round. I look through sound
and become hollow. Fever must be like this.
Many thanks to Joyce Odam for her beautiful poems and pix today, recalling our recent Seed of the Week, “First Rain”. Our new Seed of the Week is Midnight. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for more SOWs than you can shake a computer at.
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