Poetry – Country Rain
I wrote the following piece after thinking back to childhood memories of thunderstorms. I slide between the vernacular of my extended family’s Appalachian roots and my current northern city condition.
Juxtaposed prognostications -
urbanites talking about
’chances of precipitation’
while those esteemed as rural,
lifted hands to heaven
remarking, ’callin for rain’.
Things is different
for them country folk.
Them there’s the people
who don’t fret getting
their hair wet of a downpour.
’What!, you made outta suga, boy?’
I was just knee-high
to a wheat field grasshopper
when my aunt went off awalkin
through the rain of an evening
carrying narry an umbrella.
’Where ya off to, Liza?’
’Clearing out the cobwebs.’
Sometime later, I reflected,
draped over the porch’s banister,
about that statement.
It was a summer day
that blew in a thunderstorm.
I had sat there watching it come.
It marched purposely across the fields
and then halted just yards away
as if bashful in its desire of me.
A wall of water stretched to touch heaven
and then dug its toes into earth
transforming the space between
into a vertical river.
I wanted to ride that river
and know the feeling
of cobwebs releasing.
I stepped through its curtain,
closed my eyes, and joined its current.
Country rain has a permanent smell.
It encodes its DNA along the double helix
of whatever it is that composes the true heart -
not the beating organ but that inner spark
that animates humanity to greatness.
You know its there when
the draw of a deep breath
tickles a memory of lost, one-lane roads
and the escape of that breath
carries a dark soil perfume
laced with the humus of autumns past.
It plays upon your ears
till the sound of rain
looks like green
and tastes like Eden reborn.
A man marked in this way
will hear the first drops of rain
before the clouds release them.
When the wind blows just right,
he will stand still with outstretched arms
face lifted and eyes closed
inviting their touch again -
the touch of a million lovers
tracing the quick years on his face.
And in staccato voice, they’ll sing,
’We remember you…
we’ve danced along your webs before.’
He’ll remember the steps
and new webs will be danced away,
to be carried on the current
of a country rain.