The heatwave has left us (for a couple of days) and London city has been drenched in grey again– large, heavy drops of glorious rain giving us some respite from the scorching heat, dampening our summer spirits, making everything miserable again, apart from the natural world who laps up this sudden surge of refreshment.
I was just standing in the garden because I wanted to feel the rain. Being a poet, I automatically began to think about my feelings towards these heavy drops landing on my shoulders, the puddle my bare feet were standing in, the one drop hanging precariously off my eyelashes. I began to think of word associations, jotting quick poems in my brain, pondering whether I should blog a quick poem about the rain. But alas, I came to think that it has all been done before, and whatever my attempt, it would be unoriginal and unsuccessful in its aims.
There are two routes to take with rain poem: they are either hugely negative, with connotations of despair and melancholy woven through brief, snappy lines to echo the short bursts of rain, or just downright depressing almost epic verse to mirror the never-ending storm. Or, they are positive poems, full of hope and light, conveying the relief that the rain has bought upon the withering natural world, and the refreshment which it has bought to those suffering from drought or severe water shortage. Positive or negative, heads or tails, your rain poem is bound to be one of the two. It is difficult to be indifferent about the rain.
A lot of rain poems tend to have links to depressive moods, states of burdening melancholy which are only exacerbated by the torrid weather and drizzle at the window panes. But others can be Fred Astaire-esque, with images of youths dancing in the rain after prom, of a couple sharing a first kiss in the rain, of children in poverty stricken countries rejoicing at the arrival of the storm. The “kissing in the rain” motif in particular seems done to death, and all of these poems encapsulate the same imagery with very little originality (I’m talking about poems I’ve read on tumblr and such like).
Then there’s presentation and onomatopoeia.
r a i n f a l l .
Or, oh! the lengthy and dragging, almost prose-like piece of writing
which may be visually shaped on the page like a tornado
or some other form of destructive weather front,
with epic images of clashing thunder
and the catastrophic lightning
and oh! the storm.
Hmph. Why do I feel that it is impossible to write a poem about the rain without using rain sounds: drip, drop, dropping, dripping. You know my drift. Splashing and crashing, pooling and spraying. And the inevitable mentioning of the atmosphere being damp and dreary.
Maybe one day I’ll write a rain poem, but it will have to be from a perspective of sheer indifference, with no presentation tricks and no onomatopoeia. And, of course, no likening of raindrops to one’s tears.