14 January 2016

Poetry Thursday - A History of Rain by Marc Hudson

Usnea substerilis (via)

A History of Rain
Marc Hudson

So you arrive in the old country of rain.
The road sign says Mist, Jewell,
Vernonia. Woodsmoke
is rising against the rain
so slowly, you wonder if time
is passing, and did the alders
have leaves this year? Walk on
through a covered bridge and the sun
pours through a thousand knotholes
in lasers of smoking light.
When you emerge it is raining
as it only rains in the first chapter of Genesis,
a rain without ambiguity and guile
a rain with pointed arches and high clerestories
where the aquiline features of saints
are smoothed away like a child’s
in sleep. You discover
your vocation: you will write
the history of rain, you will set down
on usnea and moss the lineage of mist,
the martyrdom of clouds. You will record
the resurrections rain accomplishes,
its infinite extension and seeming absence,
as if it fell to no purpose
but to elicit meditation,
the pause of the scribe before the window,
transparence of a mind
given over to rain

From Afterlight (1983)

Found here. Usnea is "a lichen of luminous green that thrives in the clear air [and] brings colour to the woods even on the greyest of winter days."

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