The rain is raining all around
It falls on field and trees
It rains on the umbrellas here
And on the ships at sea.
–Robert Louis Stevenson
Turns out I know a lot of rain poems. Why is this?
Is there any need to ask?
I steel myself every winter. I don’t like snow, even when it’s pretty, even when it’s in movies on television. Even when it’s photo-shopped into pictures (why would anyone do that, anyway?)
Snow is cold. If snow weren’t cold I might like it better. I might go snow-shoeing. Or at least look online to see how much a pair of snow shoes costs.
Snow is cold. And no matter where I live, if there happens to be a garage appended to the house, I don’t use it, for reasons that make little sense. Which means it makes still less sense that I end up having to brush the snow off my car, always getting snow down my boots, chilling my ankles.
And I’m too short to properly clean off the top of my car, so it always has a little—and sometimes a large—Mohawk of snow atop it as I drive down the street.
O Western wind, when wilt thou blow?
That the small rain down can rain.
Christ, if my love were in my arms!
And I in my bed again.
Every winter I give myself permission to complain as much as I want about the cold weather and the snow. I figure, why not? I didn’t even like winter so much when I was a kid and was supposed to go around making snow angels and building snow men. (Did anyone ever think to build a snow woman? With a bra? What would be cool.) Instead, my memory of childhood snow time was boys throwing snowballs at me. Once I got hit in the face. Snow never belongs on faces.
So as you can imagine, I did my share of complaining this winter. Especially since the snow in front of the house has just now melted enough to reveal the spindly corpse of our Christmas tree which has been submerged in a snow bank since Martin Luther King Day or thereabouts.
Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out
of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
with a decent happiness.
So, as it turns out, I know all these rain poems. By heart. I love the wide-sweeping geography of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem. I love the pathos of the anonymous middle ages poem. I love the poignant hope in the Robert Creeley poem. And the child-like blessing quality of the Langston Hughes.
Only—and I never give myself permission to complain about the rain—I am tired of the rain. This spring’s rain seems only slightly warmer than the snow. And it seems to be accompanied by particularly gray, unforgiving skies.
It is supposed to rain for something like the next six days. How did Noah and the wife and kids manage without Wellbutrin?
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night –
And I love the rain.
I’m about to leave the house to venture out into the rain for errands and chores. I don’t carry an umbrella. In our car culture, where everything is a matter of dashing between car and store or car and office, umbrellas seem more trouble than they’re worth.
It might be different if I lived someplace where I didn’t need a car and it was a warm summer rain beating a tattoo on my umbrella, getting me out of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-lust of intentional indifference.
Then I could wear a pair of Wellies with polka dots on them and I could be wet, with a decent happiness.
Then I could say—and really mean it: And I love the rain.