Good evening, and welcome to dVerse, the Poets’ Pub. It’s Sarah here, posting from the south-west corner of England. Come on in, share a drink and some poems.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about rain. If you look at a map of England, I live just at the top of that south-west peninsular, a long finger out into the Atlantic. It rains a lot here. We have lush green grass, flower-filled hedgerows, and contented cows that deliver clotted cream – cream you can stand a spoon up in.
I don’t usually think about rain very much at all. It’s just part of the background. If it’s not raining today, it probably will be tomorrow, and definitely will be next week. However, over the last few weeks we’ve had glorious sunshine, and hardly any rain at all. Just to put this in perspective, the official definition of a drought in the UK is more than 15 consecutive days without rain.
Let’s just pause for my desert dwelling friends to recover a little.
I get a lot of rain, and for me it’s not particularly exciting, but it is an essential part of my local landscape. For you, rain may mean something very different. I’ve never waited for the monsoon rains to start. I’ve never watched a desert transform overnight. My rain brings mud, not slippery pavements, it rattles on leaves, not the ocean.
Listen to the rain in Seamus Heaney’s poem. He’s from Ireland – he knows rain intimately!
Upend the rainstick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known
To listen for. In a cactus stalk
Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe
Being played by water, you shake it again lightly
And diminuendo runs through all its scales
Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes
A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,
Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;
Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.
Upend the stick again. What happens next
Is undiminished for having happened once.
Twice, ten, a thousand times before.
Who cares if the music that transpires
Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?
You are like a rich man entering heaven
Through the ear of a shower. Listen now again.
and here’s Mary Oliver:
Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me
spoke to me
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain—
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.
Tonight, I want you to give me a rainy poem. Give me your rain – the city rain, the desert rain, the rain that falls in the forest. Give me your memories of rain – kissing rain-wet lips, rain on a bus window. Give me drizzle, mizzle, a softdaythankgod – give me a raging storm – give me sad rain, or happy rain, or the rain that comes as a relief.
Once you’ve written your poem, you know what to do:
- Add a link back to dVerse – it helps us grow, which brings in more poets and more readers.
- Link your poem up to Mr Linky
- Take a tour of the dVerse poets, though you might need an umbrella with you this time!
- Enjoy some wonderful words.