more rain, and leaves

Nov 4, 2021 poetry appreciation

Last week the rivers were rising in Cumbria and the water flowed brown and white and angry through the centre of towns. The big rain down did rain and brought trouble to many. This rain poem, however, has a mood of hope and possibility: here’s the charming ‘The rain was ending‘ by Lawrence Binyon.

The spring rain (‘fresh green lime-tree tops’) in this poem has a sense of the future in it: the boy’s suffering and confinement, like the rain, seem to be coming to an end (‘pale after fever’) and he is enjoying prospects both actual and metaphorical. The visual images are simple, vividly evoke the shift in light and the brilliance of its play on the leaves and the gravel. It’s not a complicated poem but there’s something I find very lovely about how sensitively it conveys the scene and captures a moment. ‘There came a wish without reason,/ A thought that shone through his heart’: such an unfussy way of describing that experience of thought and feeling conflating in deep resolve and desire.

And for some Binyon about our current season, have a look at ‘The Burning of the Leaves‘. ‘Let them go to the fire with never a look behind’. Ooooh. Something wonderfully thrilling about that.

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