National Poetry Month, day 15

For me, poetry is usually about the beauty of the language and the skill with which it evokes emotion, but there are also times when a skilled poet uses words to convey a visual sense so keen that I feel like I’m there. This is another great reason why writers should read poetry.

I read this poem for the first time this morning, after I literally opened a collection and flipped through it to come to a random stop…here. And this poem hit me between the eyes, so incredibly vivid are the details the poet uses to create his word-picture. This is just amazing.

Working in the Rain
by Robert Morgan

My father loved more than anything to
work outside in wet weather. Beginning
at daylight he’d go out in dripping brush
to mow or pull weeds for hog and chickens.
First his shoulders got damp and the drops from
his hat ran down his back. When even his
armpits were soaked he came in to dry out
by the fire, making coffee, read a little.
But if the rain continued he’d soon be
restless, and go out to sharpen tools in
the shed or carry wood from the pile,
then open up a puddle to the drain,
working by steps back into the downpour.
I thought he sought the privacy of rain,
the one time no one was likely to be
out and he was left to the intimacy
of drops touching every leaf and tree in
the woods and the easy mutterings of
drip and runoff, the shine of pools behind
grass dams. He could not resist the long
ritual, the companionship and freedom
of falling weather, or even the cold
drenching, the heavy soak and chill of clothes
and sobbing of fingers and sacrifice
of shoes that earned a baking by the fire
and washed fatigue after the wandering
and loneliness in the country of rain.

On the poet.

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