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Rain: a collaborative poem

by Lionel Murcott and Amanda Ballen, 2018


Rain hesi-
tates, waits.
Scatters a
handful alpha-
betic drops.
Stops. Then –
open, incoherently
loops vowels
around displaced

In its business of steaming–
the soaking and swelling of things–
it is rain that gives us the world in
softness and sogginess. Blurs
the outlines of objects, collects
in palms of the playground and on its small tongues;
The cones of gauges; millimetre-marked
It is soft rain, that knocks
on swimming pools with gifts
of warmness and bubbles.

Clouds are factories.
Down dark corridors
red-green machines,
black-yellow machines,
blue-purple machines
pound and shake and
rumble, crank out
scattering traildowns
of bright new rain.

“I was once the Atlantic,
I have been the Nile.”
This seeming dew dot, an ampule
of memories. “I’ve been touched
by Tutankhamen’s gilded oars of salt cedar
And by Solomon’s fleet, gold, silk and swords
Cut by the gun-metal of Titanic’s buckled hull
And caressed by banana boats,
The wrinkled fisherman Of Zanzibar
It is I, who moved caravels,
holding slave and spice.
[Me, this bit of sea, who gave
voyages to the brave dreamers
of unchartered worlds.
This glistening drop; this aquatic pearl.

The rain walks
on its hands
down city streets.

Water, has taken
the humble-tumble,
this fall from grey grace.

wet on
hot tar
a drought

From the car on roadtrip
The distant plummet:
pencil-sketch sky lines.

The ancient Jewish sages say:
“Water always falls to
lowest places…”

But, always,
Making its way back to life
in the puffy form/life of the heights

A seeming suicide,
Proving that all things are balanced
In an act of crying.

See my dusty-
car spatters
after a shower.
If rain was
ink, think
of the pattern
it would scatter,
black dots
on my belly-up paper –
our collaboration.

Ink? What about the sulphuric drops of Venus
dissolving in on themselves
before ever reaching
the four-hundred-degree lava orange?
The showers of the sun, a magnetic
plasma-cascade; swirling solar flames
looping and roaring with sublime heat?
What about the methane, frozen to scar and mark
the hazy ammonia moon of Titus
and the storms of dust and dry-ice
that thaw the Martian poles
Saturn compresses its carbon molecules to graphite-
diamond pieces bejewelling its hot atmosphere
Then, melts: leaving toxic glass, running
thirty-six thousand kilometres before
reaching the gassy blue of this spheroid oblate

So, I’m happy with this drizzly
lukewarm wash
this sky-call
pretty lightening and pattering
that grants us amniotic moods
and activities of cosiness
with its own message
Down time.

While outside,
the sighing
and soughing
of tree-heads agreeing
and tree-bodies creaking
and all threaded through
with cloud-droplets
with the steadily soaking
the everywhere-at-it-and-in-it…