TCS: Some Rain Must Fall – Poems for World Meteorological Day

. . Good Morning! 

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

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Climate is what we expect,
weather is what we get.

– Mark Twain

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Today is World Meteorological Day.

Weather is a major part of all our lives. Though meteorologists are much better at predicting weather than they used to be, there are still sudden shifts in weather patterns that catch us by surprise. Weather is often used by writers of both poetry and prose as a metaphor for other events in life.

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The Rainy Day

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.


“The Rainy Day” from The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1873 – James R. Osgood & Co.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet who is considered one of the Fireside Poets from New England. His best known poems include “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and the epic poems The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

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Today

by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


“Today” from Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems © 2013 by Billy Collins – Random House

Billy Collins (March 22, 1941 – ) dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, was a two-term U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003), and has published many poetry collections, including Questions About Angels; The Art of Drowning and Nine Horses: Poems. It was Questions About Angels, published in 1991, that put him in the literary spotlight.

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Still Falls the Rain

(The Raids, 1940, Night and Dawn)

by Edith Sitwell

Still falls the Rain –
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss –
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter’s Field, and the sound of the impious feet

On the Tomb:
Still falls the Rain

In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us –
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain –
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man’s wounded Side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds, – those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear –
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh… the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain –
Then – O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune –
See, see where Christ’s blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree

Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world, – dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar’s laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain –
 “Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee.”


“Still Falls the Rain” from Edith Sitwell: Collected Poems, 2006 Reprint edition – Harry N. Abrams

Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) was born into a well-to-do, upper-crust family. She had health problems from an early age, and was put into an iron frame when diagnosed with a spinal deformity. Her parents, particularly her mother, seem to have abandoned her almost entirely. Her governess, Helen Rootham, introduced her to the magical worlds of art, music and literature. Sitwell experimented with language and form. She published some of her poem series Façade in 1918, in the literary magazine Wheels, where she served for a time as editor. She was a champion of Wilfred Owen, whose poetry she edited, and helped to publish after his death. In the 1950s, a long-standing affliction called Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce the protein that makes up connective tissue, led to her becoming wheelchair bound. In 1962, she published her final collection of poetry, The Outcasts, and gave her last poetry reading. She died of cerebral haemorrhage on December 9, 1964, at the age of 77.

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Now Winter Nights Enlarge

by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
    This number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
    Upon the airy towers.

Let now the chimneys blaze
    And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned words amaze
    With harmony divine.

Now yellow waxen lights
    Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
    Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
    With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
    Though beauty no remorse.

All do not all things well:
    Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
    Some poems smoothly read.

The summer hath his joys,
    And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys
    They shorten tedious nights.


“Now Winter Nights Enlarge” from The Works of Thomas Campion, 1970 – W.W. Norton & Company

Thomas Campion (1567-1620) was an English composer, poet and physician, who wrote over 100 lute songs, masques for dancing and an authoritative treatise on music. He wrote all the lyrics for the 1601 songbook, A Booke of Ayres, using music composed by himself and Philip Rosseter.

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The Storm – (26)

by Emily Dickinson

There came a wind like a bugle;
It quivered through the grass,
And a green chill upon the heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the windows and the doors
As from an emerald ghost;
The doom’s electric moccason
That very instant passed.
On a strange mob of panting trees,
And fences fled away,
And rivers where the houses ran
The living looked that day.
The bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings whirled.
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the world!


“The Storm” from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin – Harvard University Press, 1999

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) America’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst Massachusetts. She wrote nearly 1800 poems, ignoring the traditional poetic forms prevailing among most of the other poets of her day. The extent of her work wasn’t known until after her death, when her younger sister Lavinia discovered her huge cache of poems.

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Haiku

by Takahama Kyoshi

The short summer night.
The dream and real
Are same things.


Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959) was a Japanese poet and author during the Shōwa period. He dropped put of  Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō (now Waseda University) in 1895, taking a job as an editor and critic for the literary magazine   Nihonjin. In 1898, he became the manager of the haiku magazine Hototogisu. He wrote novels, including  Haikaishi (The Haiku Master), as well as over 40,000 haiku, and a commentary on haiku composition. He died at age 85 in April 1959.

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Snow

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Once with my scarf knotted over my mouth
I lumbered into a storm of snow up the long hill
and did not know where I was going except to the top of it.
In those days we went out like that.
Even children went out like that.
Someone was crying hard at home again,
raging blizzard of sobs.

I dragged the sled by its rope,
which we normally did not do
when snow was coming down so hard,
pulling my brother whom I called by our secret name
as if we could be other people under the skin.
The snow bit into my face, prickling the rim
of the head where the hair starts coming out.
And it was a big one. It would come down and down
for days. People would dig their cars out like potatoes.

How are you doing back there? I shouted,
and he said Fine, I’m doing fine,
in the sunniest voice he could muster

and I think I should love him more today
for having used it.

At the top we turned and he slid down,
steering himself with the rope gripped in
his mittened hands. I stumbled behind
sinking deeply, shouting Ho! Look at him go!
as if we were having a good time.

Alone on the hill. That was the deepest
I ever went into the snow. Now I think of it
when I stare at paper or into silences
between human beings. The drifting
accumulation. A father goes months
without speaking to his son.

How there can be a place
so cold any movement saves you.

Ho! You bang your hands together,
stomp your feet.  The father could die!
The son! Before the weather changes.


“Snow” from Fuel, © 1998 by Naomi Shihab Nye – BOA Editions, Ltd.

Naomi Shihab Nye (1952 -) was born in St.Louis, Missouri. Daughter of a father who came to America as a Palestinian refugee, and a born-in-America mother. “I grew up in St. Louis in a tiny house full of large music – Mahalia Jackson and Marian Anderson singing majestically on the stereo, my German-American mother fingering ‘The Lost Chord’ on the piano as golden light sank through trees, my Palestinian father trilling in Arabic in the shower each dawn.” During her teens, Shihab Nye lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University.

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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