From time to time, the Poetry Muse visits me. I have never (ever) been able to just decide I'm going to write a poem; the words come on their own, unbidden, and I write them down. Sometimes I wrangle them a bit but, by and large, what I write is what I receive; I'm just a tool.
One spring afternoon several years ago, I had been working at the computer for a couple of hours and needed a break. I went to the kitchen to fix something to drink. It was raining briskly and as I stood by the stove, I could hear the rain drumming on the pipe that leads from my Vent-a-Hood. At the time, I was over 60 years old, but the sound of that rain triggered a memory -- and a poem.
REMEMBRANCES OF RAIN - 1997
Rain, especially when blown by a west wind,
Plays melodious chimes on the metal vents
Protruding from my roof. I listen, and
Although I am now old, and city-bound,
My undirected thoughts leap back through time
To the loft of our tin-roofed barn
Where I spent rainy weekends
With my favorite book in hand,
Snuggled down in sweet, loose hay,
Munching on raw peanuts picked from shocks
That Dad had stored nearby.
First, I'd read, lying on my belly,
Squinting my eyes a bit to take
Advantage of the moist, gray light
That drifted through the loft door,
Turning the pages of my book in
Counterpoint to the rhythm of the rain
As it beat against the old tin roof
With the briskness of a snare-drum.
Then, when the rhythm slowed, and
Soft rain played the calm, low notes
Of lullabies, I'd doze; storing up
The memories created by books and rain,
Against the dry tomorrows of my life.
This poem will always be very, very special to me. Not because I think it's so great, or anything, but because a dear friend (my Other Mother, Mary P.) liked it so much that she instructed her only son that it be printed in the pamphlet used at her Memorial Service. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply that affected me. Mary P., who was one of the most brilliant women I've ever met, had been a great reader, but had lost most of her vision by the time she died. When I first read the poem to her, she said she could certainly relate to "the dry tomorrows" of her life.
More about Mary P. at a later time. I said these would be random recollections.