Friday, June 22, 2007

Poetry Friday 55

The annual Glastonbury Music Festival and Wimbledon are both approaching, sure guarantees of rain arriving on these shores, and this morning I woke to a leak in my attic roof, so I'm feeling rather rain obsessed at the moment !


Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying tonight or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be for what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me,

Edward Thomas' poem "Rain" was written on January 7, 1916 - for those familiar with poetry of the WW1 period, the images of rain and mud are probably the strongest ones.

The other thing I'm obsessed about, of course, is "Doctor Who" - the season finale is only 8 days away. Last week's episode (which I will review on my Spoiler Zone Blog at some point in the next two days) was called "Utopia", although there was no sign of Utopia in the episode, but it got me thinking about Utopia and Dystopia, and of course, then I went looking for some poetry, and found this:


Island where all becomes clear.

Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

You can read the rest of Wislawa Szymborska's poem here. I confess to being completely unfamiliar with Szymborska's work until Elaine of Wild Rose Reader and Blue Rose Girls posted "The Joy of Writing" for an April Poetry Friday offering. You can find a biography of this Polish poet here; Szymborska won the "Nobel Prize in Literature" in 1996 and you can read her Nobel Prize lecture here.

This week's poetry round-up is hosted by cloudscome of A Wrung Sponge.


Thinker said...

Rain has a way of seeping into your consciousness somehow and soaking out of you what you never knew existed.We are connected with water in such a biological and emotional way.

Thank you for posting the poem.

Michele said...

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

No Shakespeare this week in your post, and yet your choice reminded me of this:

When that I was and a little tiny boy
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas, to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still 'had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world began,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

-- William Shakespeare

Michele said...

Thanks Kelly... No Shakespeare this week - I thought I'd give someone else a chance - plus I love that poem of Thomas' - it speaks to the WW1 experience so beautifully I feel...

Mary Lee said...

Tennis makes rain for you; a certain famousish golf tournament around Memorial Day guarantees rain for us here. And today, out of nowhere, not forecast, not predicted, we have...RAIN! (The dry earth rejoices.)

Michele said...

We've had so much rain during June that the earth is far from dry - in fact, there's been severe flooding in some areas of the country.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I'm happy to have introduced you to the poetry of Szymborska. Thanks for the nod to my postings at Wild Rose Reader and Blue Rose Girls.

I was on vacation for a week up in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont--so I haven't posted for a week. Hope all is well in the Mother Country!

Michele said...

Elaine it was no trouble to mention you - I was grateful for the intro to Szymborska whom I would never have otherwise discovered...

I'm drowning in work - and trying not to drown in the incessant rain - and also trying to write two stories at once (which doesn't in any way guarantee sanity), but otherwise well, thanks.