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Saturday, 3 July 2021

Saturday Rave: Before Summer Rain by Rainer Maria Rilke.

 Because it is high summer here in England, I have been thinking a lot about rain. A neighbour has asked me to water her plants while she is away on holiday, but I have been doing more draining than watering.

Ah well.

If you want a poem about rain, what better person could there be to wrote it than a man called Rainer? 

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 - 1926, was born in Prague. His father wanted him to be a soldier and his mother wanted him to be her dead daughter. He ended up a writer and poet.

Good for him.

Before Summer Rain

Suddenly, from all the green around you,
something - you don't know what - has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window,
in total silence. From the nearby wood

you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome:
so much solitude and passion come
from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour

will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
away from us, cautiously, as though
they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying.

And reflected on the faded tapestries now;
the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.


Word To Use Today: Jerome. St Jerome was a Christian scholar, born about the year 350 AD, whose most important achievement (apart from, perhaps, the saint thing) was writing the Vulgate translation of the Bible. What he has to do with rain I do not know, but I imagine the reference is to the power of his language.

Jerome means sacred name, from the words hieros, sacred, and onoma, name.

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