National Poetry Month, day eight

A short poem today, short but powerful. One of the band directors at the music camp which featured in yesterday’s post actually wrote a piece for symphonic winds based on this poem, which packs tremendous imagery and emotional power into just four lines. The Western wind has many connotations, few of them bad, and in this case, the speaker is praying for its return so that the “small rain” can return, bringing cleansing and healing. And then, the wish for a return to a familiar warm bed and the arms of a beloved. This is a very old poem, and nothing is known of its writer; in fact, it may be just a fragment of a larger work that is lost to us now. If so, and if the remaining work is as good as this quatrain that has survived to our time, what a loss that must be!

Western wind, when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! If my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

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