rain (2001 remix)

    We live always with rain.
    Soft rain.  Hard, driving rain.
    Rain which cools, annoys, drenches, surprises.
    Unseasonable, untameable rain.

    Rain that jabs down
    with stiff fingers, provoking umbrellas;
    rain you want to walk in,
    holding your hands
    to your hot face in relief.

    Rain whose percussion
    on the upturned palm of a leaf
    is the sound of wings
    flapping, ready to take off.

    Rain a kind of voice.  
    Listening, you think Rain
    in the language you speak
    alone to yourself.

    Rain that falls equally
    on grass and concrete,
    which lasts so many nights
    your very dreams are of

    rain, dark against grey stone,
    the gravel drinking in
    its intermittent poetry,  

    footsteps falling into place
    beside the rhythm of water,
    forming its own song
    and singing of its own arrival.

    Gift of rain.  Summons of rain.
    Rain everywhere, so common
    it is tragic.  Rain that we live
    around, rain as pervasive
    and invisible as love, rain
    unlooked for, and never missed,
    rain that we hide from
    in glass and stone,
    pretending life is elsewhere.

    Rain the colour of ash,
    that beats down like grief,
    unkind rain at midnight
    that slices the shape
    of cold in the hearts
    of servicemen on night patrol.
    Rain that keeps us in our place,
    tapping firmly on the flat tops
    of our roofs to remind us
    who we are.

    The same rain
    that used to soak my father
    and grandfather as they worked
    the long streets: Liang Seah,
    Sungei, Rochor, Waterloo, Victoria

    (and not the same)
    Rain that will never make crops
    grow, squandered rain, a
    wealth of rain to bless the sprouted
    heads of our buried dead.

    Rain we forget has fallen freely
    and will return without us
    to the hovering sky.
    Rain that we know will go on
    long after we too dissolve
    into figures of stone, row
                                upon row, a city of rain.


    revised 3 March 2012

22 October 2001   22:56 hours
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