Archives for posts with tag: rain

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THE CATS WILL KNOW
by Cesare Pavese
Translated by Geoffrey Brock

Rain will fall again
on your smooth pavement,
a light rain like
a breath or a step.
The breeze and the dawn
will flourish again
when you return,
as if beneath your step.
Between flowers and sills
the cats will know.
 
There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
You will hear words
old and spent and useless
like costumes left over
from yesterday’s parties.
 
You too will make gestures.
You’ll answer with words—
face of springtime,
you too will make gestures.
 
The cats will know,
face of springtime;
and the light rain
and the hyacinth dawn
that wrench the heart of him
who hopes no more for you—
they are the sad smile
you smile by yourself.
 
There will be other days,
other voices and renewals.
Face of springtime,
we will suffer at daybreak.
***
“The Cats Will Know” appears in Cesare Pavese’s collection Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950 (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cesare Pavese (1908 –1950) was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator. In his home country, he is widely considered among the major authors of the 20th century. (Source: wikipedia.org.)

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THE FITFUL ALTERNATIONS OF THE RAIN
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fitful alternations of the rain,
When the chill wind, languid as with pain
Of its own heavy moisture, here and there
Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), one of the major English Romantic poets, is regarded by critics as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley did not achieve fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death by drowning at age 29. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock, and his second wife, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

PAINTING: “Lone Tree” by David Hollingworth, prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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BEFORE THE RAIN
by Lianne Spidel

Minutes before the rain begins
I always waken, listening
to the world hold its breath,
as if a phone had rung once in a far
room or a door had creaked
in the darkness.
 
Perhaps the genes of some forebear
startle in me, some tribal warrior
keeping watch on a crag beside a loch,
miserable in the cold,
 
though I think it is a woman’s waiting
I have come to know,
a Loyalist hiding in the woods,
muffling the coughing of her child
against her linen skirts, her dark head
bent over his, her fear spent
somewhere else in time,
 
leaving only this waiting,
 
and I hope she escaped
with her child, and I suppose she did.
If not, I wouldn’t be lying here awake,
alive, listening for the rain to begin
so that she can run, the sound
of her footsteps lost, the sight
of them blotted away on the path.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lianne Spidel grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wittenberg University and the University of Michigan. She is the author of the chapbook Chrome (2006), and her poems have been included in the anthology I Have My Own Song For It: Modern Poems of Ohio (2002). Spidel taught high school for 31 years until her 1998 retirement. She lives in Greenville, Ohio.

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THE LUCKY ONES
Poem by Charles Bukowski

stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m.,
these are the lucky ones, these are the
dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud
as possible as they try not to think or remember.

this is our new civilization: as men
once lived in trees and caves now they live
in their automobiles and on freeways as

the local news is heard again and again while
we shift from first gear to second and back to first.

there’s a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood
up, he’s standing against the freeway fence
a newspaper over his head in the rain.

the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into
the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off.

in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
police car with blinking red and blue lights – he surely
can’t be speeding as

suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
cars stop and

even with the windows up I can smell somebody’s clutch
burning.

I just hope it’s not mine as

the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first
gear; we are all still
a long way from home as I memorize
the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the

driver’s head or
what
I can see of it above the headrest while
his bumper sticker asks me
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR KID TODAY?

suddenly I have an urge to scream
as another wall of water comes down and the
man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent 
chance of showers tomorrow night

PHOTO: Bright Fizz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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STORM WINDOWS
Poem by Howard Nemerov

People are putting up storm windows now, 
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain 
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon, 
I saw storm windows lying on the ground, 
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass 
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream 
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide 
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind. 
The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass 
Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by, 
Something that I should have liked to say to you, 
Something . . .the dry grass bent under the pane 
Brimful of bouncing water . . . something of 
A swaying clarity which blindly echoes 
This lonely afternoon of memories 
And missed desires, while the wintry rain 
Unspeakable the distance in the mind!) 
Runs on the standing windows and away. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) served twice as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress — from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (1977), he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize. Nemerov was brother to photographer Diane Arbus and father to art historian Alexander Nemerov, Professor of the History of Art and American Studies at Stanford University. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

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Today, there is at long last glorious rain — which I love any day of the year — in Los Angeles. And whether or not you like rain — and I don’t think most Angelenos like it, judging by their elaborate moisture-averting wardrobes — we need it to keep the dry brush from bursting into flames.

The above paragraph is a preamble to saying I woke up to the beautiful sight of a quarter-sized (including the legs) spider in my bathtub, looking for shelter from the storm. I would have left him/her there, except my cat Clancy likes to chase and eat spiders — and I didn’t think it wise for the cat or the spider. So i captured said spider in a jar that once held Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves (great with plain greek yogurt) and ushered him/her outside, where I hoped the arachnid found a place to wait out the rain.

The above two paragraphs are a preamble to marking the 114th birthday of E.B. White, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte, as most people know, was the spider that was a “a good writer” and “true friend” to Wilbur — a pig she saves from the slaughterhouse. (And for those who believe in animal totems — or who find them interesting — spiders are the totem of writers.)

So let’s enjoy a passage from the delightful, charming, profound Charlotte’s Web, a masterpiece for young and old by E.B. White.

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985), was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker and a co-author of the English language style guide, The Elements of Style. He also wrote books for children, including Charlotte’s WebStuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. In a 2012 survey, readers of School Library Journal voted Charlotte’s Web the top children’s novel of all time. (Read more at Wikipedia.org)

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Caption: Heart palpitations…clammy…butterflies in stomach…dry mouth…

Credit: Roz Chast and New Yorker, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In Los Angeles, the flowering trees start to bloom in February — and that’s as close as we get to spring in a place where the weather is pretty much the same all year long. Still, I’ll admit to bouts of spring fever — especially during our infrequent rain showers.

And that reminds me of what I consider one of the funniest things about living in Los Angeles — the rain attire worn by adults and children during our rare, rare, rare rains. Yes,  these folks have special wardrobes — colorful slickers, ornate umbrellas, stylish rain boots — that they use as armor, as if they will melt from a drop of water like the witch did in the Wizard of Oz. As someone who grew up in the rain-soaked Midwest, where we had no special rain wardrobe, I find this quite, quite amusing.

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STORM WINDOWS

Poem by Howard Nemerov

People are putting up storm windows now, 
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain 
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon, 
I saw storm windows lying on the ground, 
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass 
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream 
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide 
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind. 
The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass 
Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by, 
Something that I should have liked to say to you, 
Something . . .the dry grass bent under the pane 
Brimful of bouncing water . . . something of 
A swaying clarity which blindly echoes 
This lonely afternoon of memories 
And missed desires, while the wintry rain 
Unspeakable the distance in the mind!) 
Runs on the standing windows and away. 

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early morning wind

     in the umbrella

          of the pumpkin stand

                                  MARLENE MOUNTAIN

Photo: Bienatole, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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THE LUCKY ONES

Poem by Charles Bukowski

stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m.,
these are the lucky ones, these are the
dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud
as possible as they try not to think or remember.

this is our new civilization: as men
once lived in trees and caves now they live
in their automobiles and on freeways as

the local news is heard again and again while
we shift from first gear to second and back to first.

there’s a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood
up, he’s standing against the freeway fence
a newspaper over his head in the rain.

the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into
the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off.

in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
police car with blinking red and blue lights – he surely
can’t be speeding as

suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
cars stop and

even with the windows up I can smell somebody’s clutch
burning.

I just hope it’s not mine as

the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first
gear; we are all still
a long way from home as I memorize
the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the

driver’s head or
what
I can see of it above the headrest while
his bumper sticker asks me
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR KID TODAY?

suddenly I have an urge to scream
as another wall of water comes down and the
man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent 
chance of showers tomorrow night

Photo: Bright Fizz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED