Stormy weather

Spring has been strange and unpredictable in the nation’s capital, providing a sympathetic backdrop to the turmoil of the economy and the political world.  Weeks of rain are followed by a few scorching days, the occasional perfect spring weekend, and then days, or rather nights and early mornings, of near hurricanes with bolts of lightning, thunder claps, flash floods, downed trees and power outages.  We are not in control.

This intensity induces self-reflection, recollection and an appetite for poetry.

Storm Windows
by Howard Nemerov

People are putting up storm windows now,
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,
I saw storm windows lying on the ground,
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind.
The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass
Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by,
Something I should have liked to say to you,
Something … the dry grass bent under the pane
Brimful of bouncing water … something of
A swaying clarity which blindly echoes
This lonely afternoon of memories
And missed desires, while the wintry rain
(Unspeakable, the distance in the mind!)
Runs on the standing windows and away.

The Fitful Alternations of the Rain
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fitful alternations of the rain,
When the chill wind, languid as with pain
Of its own heavy moisture, here and there
Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.

I Shall not Care
by Sara Teasdale

When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Tho’ you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough,
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

84. I Remember a Clear Morning
from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

I remember a clear morning in the Ninth Month when it had been raining all night.  Despite the bright sun, dew was still dripping from the chrysanthemums in the garden.  On the bamboo fences and criss-cross hedges I saw tatters of spider webs; and where the threads were broken the raindrops hung on them like strings of white pearls.  I was greatly moved and delighted.

As it become sunnier, the dew gradually vanished from the clover and the other plants where it had lain so heavily; the branches began to stir, then suddenly sprang up of their own accord.  Later I described to people how beautiful it all was.  What most impressed me was that they were not at all impressed.

4 responses to “Stormy weather”

  1. Dave says:

    I tried to post earlier but my internet freaked out. These are great.

    I’ll have to remember the Sara Teasdale for the next breakup.

  2. Mmmm. This is what I’ve been missing. Poetry, read aloud. How pretty that you’ve chosen rain-themed poems, in different formats, with different feelings attached.

    Thank you.

  3. Dave says:

    But this isn’t poetry read aloud.

  4. Thank you for sharing these poems. They remind me that I’m not reading enough poetry, though I did recently read this poem, which has been haunting me now for a few days. This was originally published in Erasable Walls, and I discovered it recently published in Meridian Magazine. I would provide links and more credit than this, but I have no idea how to do so. Anyhow, I really liked this poem:

    by Lance Larsen

    Sometimes its loss I want, a slow acid eating
    my bones, wife and son gone forever,
    loss that would color this moon a sad yellow
    and give these houses voices beneath their paint.

    I would sleep by day, and my grief,
    the thinnest of shirts, would hide me
    from nothing. At night: the shrieks of birds,
    my wife’s heart thrumming in the trunks

    of the thickest trees, my son buried
    somewhere or falling asleep to voices he’s never
    heard, pajamas white as baby teeth,
    the birthmark under his chin a closed flower.

    And maybe before following the night’s meanders,
    I would glance up at these windows furred
    by porch light and frost, where my wife
    and son are sleeping now, and try to invent

    the darkness where we dream, the three of us,
    like plants bedded in a window-box, so intertwined
    we no longer hear the song of our leaves,
    or feel the tangle and sprawl of our roots.