1/23/2023 2 Comments
POET'S PETARD FOR JANUARY 2023
In Which Rain Identifies Itself By Sound Not Song
We seem to be in rainy season once more. Rain as a season, not yet a climate. We are bewildered to recognize again the variety of voices It (Rain) has commandeered for Its personal use – and we might be excused for confusing “song” with “noise” at this very fundamental level, instead of the clearing of new space between sound and light.
Here are a few samples of ways that poets are hearing rain. First, Thomas Merton, out of his forest solitude: (from 'Rain and the Rhinoceros'):
“The rain I am in is not like the rain of cities. It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. . . .What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges. . .everywhere in the hollows!
In eight two-line stanzas Donna Henderson winkles out a set of “only rain could do this” sounds. The poem ends only when she, like the rain, takes a deep breath. (from 'Much Raining'
in her collection Send Word):
Here is Jorie Graham reaching into the silence when the rain does actually stop:
(from 'All' in the London Review of Books, 8/30/2018):
Finally, a segment of my poem 'Rainproof' describing how the rain sounds in my study when it comes off the roof and slides its way through a jury-rigged arrangement of connecting gutter-pipes, distracting my attention just enough to allow me to mis-hear almost its entire journey as a protective covering for a song that could emerge no other way:
2/7/2023 12:33:43 pm
I wonder how many 'language people' hear human voice from non-human things. I have definitely heard human voices in a furnace's rumblings - a merry but indescipherable gang speech!
2/7/2023 01:04:35 pm
I think I went about 75 years before I heard a human voice in non-human things. I'm developing backwards! Same with seeing faces in clouds or windblown sand, or wet leaves. Now I can admit all of them to my imagination and not fear I'm simply "anthropomorfizing." But I don't believe it unless I hear the "voice" as non human. Got to work on that next! Thanks, Jim!
Leave a Reply.