Posts filed under ‘Les Murray’

The Warm Rain

Les Murray


Against the darker trees or an open car shed
is where we first see rain, on a cumulous day,
a subtle slant locating the light in air
in front of a Forties still of tubs and bike-frames.

Next sign, the dust that was white pepper bared
starts pitting and reknotting into peppercorns.
It stops being a raceway of rocket smoke behind cars,
it sidles off foliage, darkens to a lustre. The roof
of the bush barely leaks yet, but paper slows right down.

Hurrying parcels pearl but don’t now split
crossing the carparks. People clap things in odd salute
to the side of their heads, yell wit, dance on their doubles.
The sunny parallels, when opposite the light, have a flung look
like falling seed. They mass, and develop a shore sound:
fixtures get cancelled, the muckiest shovels rack up.

The highway whizzes, and lorries put spin on vapour;
soon puddles hit at speed will arch over you like a slammed sea.
I love it all, I agree with it. At nightfall, the cause
of the whole thing revolves, in white and tints, on TV
like the Crab nebula: it brandishes palm trees like mops,
its borders swell over the continent, they compress the other
nations of the weather. Fruit bumps lawn, and every country dam

brews under bubbles, milky temperas sombering to oils.
Grass rains upward; the crepe-myrtle tree heels, sopping crimson,
needing to be shaken like the kilt of a large man.
Hills run, air and paddocks are swollen. Eaves dribble like jaws
and coolness is a silent film, starring green and mirrors.

Tiny firetail finches, quiet in our climber rose, agree to it
like early humans. Cattle agree harder, hunched out in the clouds.
From here, the ocean may pump up and up and explode
around the lighthouses in gigantic cloak sleeves, the whole book
of foam slide and fritter, disclosing a pen shaft. Paratroops

of salt water may land in dock streets, skinless balloons
be flat out to queue down every drain, and the wind race
thousands of flags. Or we may be just chirpings, damped
under calm high cornfields of pour, with butter clearings

that spread and resume glare, hiding the warm rain
back inside our clothes, as mauve trees scab to cream
and grey trees strip bright salmon, with loden patches.

Have been meaning to include some Murray on the site for a while now, so finally got around to doing it. I really love the vividness of this poem, the way every image in it is clear and memorable. Murray makes you both relive your memories of rain, and reimagine them, and he does it, as always, with a richness of sound and a precision of vocabulary that anyone who loves language can’t help but delight in.


December 1, 2007 at 1:26 pm 3 comments