May 10, 2007

Poetry Friday Challenge: "Rain"

Okay, so Mona really tagged this one. I love rain, and I don't know how I'm going to find the time or the ability to really write about this like I'd like to, but I'm gonna give it a shot.


When I first moved out of my parent's house, I lived in a very small mobile home. If the walls had been any thinner they'd have been invisible. If the wind blew hard enough the walls would flex and vibrate, and the whole house would boom like the inside of a drum. And when it rained, you knew it. From the very lightest drips of heavy fog to the heaviest downpour, you knew when it rained.

I lived there for 13 years. I lived there through a marriage and a divorce and a remarriage. I lived there through a pregnancy and the birth of my daughter. I lived there through my discovery of motorcycling and through the start and completion of more jobs than I care to think about. There are a lot of memories from that place, and many more have been forgotten, but there is one thing I could never forget about that little crackerbox with the tin walls and roof: the sound of the rain.

Sometimes I lie in bed at night in my brick-walled peaked-roof house and I wonder if it's raining outside. I can't hear it, not even through the windows. And when I wonder if it's raining outside, I remember the sound of the rain in that mobile home. My bedroom was on the back end of the house, and my bed was in the furthest back corner of the room, and when it rained, the water would wend it's way down the walls and onto the thick ledges of metal that lined the bottom, and then they'd drip the three feet or so to the ground with a quiet 'plik.'

I remember the soft tap of a light summer sprinkle, the softest patter of water on metal. I remember the deep roar of a steady drenching rainfall, how you had to raise your voice to be heard, and how it was better, in my heart, to simply sit and be still, and know that I was small and safe and dry, and mattered very little in the schemes and plans of the universe. I remember the muted tap of drops falling after the rains, dripping from the corner of the house onto the broad leaves of an elephant's ear plant that grew there.

Raindrop Prelude, With Camera

It's not possible. Is it?
It's not possible to photograph rain.
I don't think it can be captured properly,
catch a single perfect droplet as it falls
in front of my blind staring lens.
It can't be done, can it?
(at least by me?)

Every time it rains
I look out across the interstate
wondering what the locomotives look like
as they pull
and drive
and bellow their way through the rainfall.
(barely contained fury)

I wonder how would I look
standing there in the rain,
my huge black umbrella over my head
and my equipment.
My camera on it's tripod,
bag on my shoulder,
all of us standing there quietly.
(patiently, like damp crows)

The three of us,
Waiting for the arrival
of some huge beast.
All the while
the rain comes down around us,
unconcerned with trivialities like
film speeds,
exposure times.
(and leaving the lens cap on)


When animators want to portray rain, they do so by painting or drawing thin white lines, usually at an angle; a simple trick. Instead of trying to paint each drop as it falls, they show the puddles, the trickles of water running down upturned faces and downturned umbrellas. Rain falling on the lid of a glossy black casket in the midst of sober mourners is always certain to strum the strings of pathos. They carefully animate the expanding circles of droplets landing in water, showing the results, not the cause. They show the kids jumping in puddles, resplendent in their yellow slickers, the very essence of joy.


meno said...

I read all of these with interest. I love the sound of rain on the roof. Ours is metal and really makes the noise apparent. It's the most soothing sound in the world.

None today though. I shall have to rely on memory.

Irrelephant said...

I was very close, meno, to letting the roofer put metal on my roof when it had to be replaced but the cost pretty much ended the deal for me. *s* There's a number of homes around my little country neighborhood with those lovely metal roofs, but all I can think about is that wonderful sound of rain on a metal roof when I see them.

Mona Buonanotte said...

It's hard to photograph rain, because it merely reflects what's around us and makes it bigger and misshappen, like sticking your finger behind a glass of water so you appear to have a GIANT crooked finger.

I love rain on the roof. Against the window. Hitting the shoulders of my cheap pleather coat as I walk, slowly, to the car, wondering if I will, indeed, melt.

Lovely post, man! Made me all wistful....

Scott from Oregon said...

I actually prefer NOT to hear the rain. West coast rain is usually a long sordid affair with lots of cold associated with it.

I want to be warm and inside and oblivious when it rains.

Yeah, oblivious...

Nicely written, Mister Ireelephant!

Nancy Dancehall said...

I've been meaning to say for days now that that is an excellent poem.

Irrelephant said...

Mona, that's sweet of you to say. I'm glad I can reach out and touch someone once in a while.

Scott, I think that if I lived in a state where it rains 250 days out of the year I'd probably get pretty sick of precip too. *lol*

Nancy, thank you, too, for the kind words. It means a lot to me when writers of REAL talent tell me I'm doing well. *S*