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Rain by Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy

Not so hot as this for a hundred years.
You were where I was going. I was in tears.
I surrendered my heart to the judgement of my peers.

A century’s heat in the garden, fierce as love.
You returned on the day I had to leave.
I mimed the full, rich, busy life I had to live.

Hotter than hell. I burned for you day and night;
got bits of your body wrong, bits of it right,
in the huge mouth of the dark, in the bite of the light.

I planted a rose, burnt orange, the colour of flame,
gave it the last of the water, gave it your name.
It flared back at the sun in a perfect rhyme.

Then the rain came, like stammered kisses at first
on the back of my neck. I unfurled my fist
for the rain to caress with its lips. I turned up my face,

and water flooded my mouth, baptised my head,
and the rainclouds gathered like midnight overhead,
and the rain came down like a lover comes to a bed.


Listening to Philip Glass’ Mad Rush, one of the most calming pieces I’ve ever listened to. It quiets my soul. I am sitting in your car, in the passenger seat. The evening is gentle, the breeze a caress. It ruffles my hair, kisses my nape. I lean my head, my hand out the window in the wind. We were flying on a road that never ends. Like the time when we were on a boat, along the river, my fingers grazing the water, as light as your fingers on my cheek.


Read more works by Carol Ann Duffy • Find books by this poet • Or view my library


Explore poems in pursuit of: desireintimacyrain • Or browse the index

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Comments (3)

  • melanie

    what does carol ann duffys poem mean?

  • Liza

    I’ve been trying to figure out the meaning of this poem but I’m having a hard time, anyone care to help????

    • In poetry, it is not so much the meaning that makes the poem, it’s the telling and the hearing that gives the poem its meaning.


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