Song for the Rainy Season

Hidden, oh hidden
in the high fog
the house we live in,
beneath the magnetic rock,
rain-, rainbow-ridden,
where blood-black
bromelias, lichens,
owls, and the lint
of the waterfalls cling,
familiar, unbidden.

In a dim age
of water
the brook sings loud
from a rib cage
of giant fern; vapor
climbs up the thick growth
effortlessly, turns back,
holding them both,
house and rock,
in a private cloud.

At night, on the roof,
blind drops crawl
and the ordinary brown
owl gives us proof
he can count:
five times--always five--
he stamps and takes off
after the fat frogs that,
shrilling for love,
clamber and mount.

House, open house
to the white dew
and the milk-white sunrise
kind to the eyes,
to membership
of silver fish, mouse,
big moths; with a wall
for the mildew's
ignorant map;

darkened and tarnished
by the warm touch
of the warm breath,
maculate, cherished;
rejoice! For a later
era will differ.
(O difference that kills
or intimidates, much
of all our small shadowy
life!) Without water

the great rock will stare
unmagnetized, bare,
no longer wearing
rainbows or rain,
the forgiving air
and the high fog gone;
the owls will move on
and the several
waterfalls shrivel
in the steady sun.

-- By Elizabeth Bishop


  1. It's so nice to see a post from you, and such a lovely one at that. I suspect you've had a wonderful summer, and now are in the throes of preparing for the fall. (Does the preparation ever stop? I think not, actually.)

    Here? It's hot. I swore I wouldn't work in August this year, but once again, the goal wasn't achieved. Next year! My blog continues to satisfy, and I have some other projects in process. It's possible we'll have rain all day today, which I always take as permission to sit at the computer and mess around without guilt.

  2. Linda, you are a delight. I think I would enjoy meeting you in the world outside these interwebs very much indeed.

    Thanks for the virtual hello. Right back at you (and yes, wonderful wonderful summer; deep in preparation already, which today means mostly laundry).

    No guilt. Best!

  3. Emily:

    "... the brook sings loud / from a rib cage / of giant fern..." Your words are soothing, precise, and imaginative. "Father Nature" admires your poetry, and you.


    ~ Richard

    1. Some of my favorite lines here, too. If only I had written them! This is Elizabeth Bishop's poem. Thanks for saying hello, though, Richard!


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