Saturday, September 02, 2006

okay, another poem

I used to love the rain.

It goes back to my childhood;
my mother wouldn't let me out in it
at first, and then it was a treat
to feel it plopping on my waxy yellow raincoat
under the big bright hat like a fireman would wear
or a fisherman out at sea in a hurricane
drops falling splat splat in the puddles
water out of the sky, how amazing
and how grown up to be walking in it
all by myself.

I used to love the rain, even
when I came home from the storefront Methodist
church my parents thought would be good for me
full of Noah and the fire next time
daydreaming of water over the ditch
up the hill and into the driveway, water
over the curb, into the basement
water up the front stairs
and the door, flooding the whole world
to the windows; and we could all go around in boats.

I always loved the rain
in the Bible, falling
with loving impartiality
and the real rain would remind me of it
and make me smile; the air felt clean
as if it were already done washing

and on a rainy night you know
the psychic power lines are buzzing
and anything can happen, anything--
When you're a bewildered young failure at college
all dried up and inside-out with loneliness
you might venture out on a sleepless midnight
and meet a stranger at the doughnut shop
holy-eyed and ranting of past lives he'd seen you in
to invite you to a mansion in the Berkeley Hills
where a young woman fifty thousand years old
waits to initiate you into mysteries;

anything can happen on a rainy night
when you need it to happen, when the time is right;
you can move in to protect
a woman you're mistakenly in love with
and adore her from afar in her own living room,
you could steal her a Christmas tree
thirty years ago when I did it
(I don't suggest that anymore.)
The rain came down in drops crowded together
each drop like a fishbowl, the wind tearing at the world
while I sat cozy inside the window

and I always wanted it to rain; I wanted
to feel the angels washing me clean again
for another start, another adventure,
or maybe just the simple love of the rain.

There was a time, once
when a decent person might love the rain
and it wouldn't have to mean someone was shivering,
it wouldn't have to mean people sleeping in wet clothes
with no mommy to put them in a hot bath
so they wouldn't catch their deaths out in all that.

I have seen my country ruin itself
in a frenzy of wilful ignorance;
I have seen mercy despised, cruelty accepted--
men like ants prattling of freedom
to create wealth by picking everyone's pockets--
I have had to learn to live
by swallowing indignation

but beyond all that
they have stolen my rain
and that is not even mine
to forgive.


Forrest (late 80's, revised slightly)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forrest,
This is a really special poem. Thank you for sharing it.
Olivia

tpegonline said...

Nice! Thanks for sharing.

Yogini Celeste said...

A powerfully moving poem about what we have lost during the modern period ~ Yogini Celeste

forrest said...

We had, as Stephen Gaskin said, this spiritual awakening back in the 60's, some of us. It wasn't entirely what we thought it was going to be, but Grace and Mercy struck!
Afterwards, it looks as if all that had been swallowed up in lies and delusions, but what was solid in it persists, I think.