This poem by Lemm Sissay is a great example of “concrete” poetry: the physical shape of the poem fits with the subject matter. Rain is on a wall on Oxford Road, Manchester, between the Whitworth and Manchester University. It’s the partner of Hardy’s Well, the poem by Lemm Sissay that is on the wall of a pub. I blogged about that in July last year. The title of the piece is What a Waste!
The last few days it has been raining here in Manchester, though the sun comes out now and then. It made me think of the famous poem Rain by Don Paterson. You can find it on http://www.poetry.org the site of the Academy of American Poets. It’s mostly in four-line stanzas and has end-rhymes, and starts:
I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;
The poem ends with a one-line stanza which is a very striking “turn”. Many poems have turns, most famously, of course, the sonnet form with its volta. Paterson has:
and none of this, none of this matters.
My rain poem is in my collection Another life. There are several turns in the poem, including in the final stanza.
The Lido, Clifton
It is dry this Monday morning.
I wonder what it’s like swimming here
when it rains. Just then the drizzle starts,
a gently pulsating rhythm.
Bristol had the oldest open-air lido
in the country. Refurbished Grade II
it sits between the backs of offices.
The water is warm, kept at this
steady temperature. Floating on my back
I see the movement of clouds.
The following year my friend
would abandon me once I became ill,
but here we are drawing small ripples
in the water, each of us in our own lane.