THIS IS AN ENTRY IN MY NOTEBOOK.
In the landscape of our everyday experiences, poems about rain reflect the myriad facets of human sentiment, perhaps even memories. Rain in literature and poetry has long been a vivid symbol to express complex emotions. From signifying sorrow and melancholy to symbolising renewal and cleansing, it’s a dynamic element that authors and poets often weave into their narratives.
To me, rain poems often mark the fascinating interplay between nature and our being human. And because the world outside my window has lately been days and days of rain, I thought I’d gather some of my favourites here:
10 poems about rain to stir the heart
Praise crazy. Praise sad.
Praise the path on which we’re led.
Praise the roads on earth and water.
Praise the eater and the eaten.
Praise beginnings; praise the end.
Praise the song and praise the singer.
Joy Harjo’s poem is a testimony to life’s varied colours, memories, and emotions. The rain symbolises regeneration and growth, the full spectrum of life, and the heartaches and laughter that nourish us and make us who we are. I think about praise—and what makes us want to reach for joy, despite everything.
Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.
In Raymond Carver’s poem, we get to contemplate the life we live and have lived, our mortality, and perhaps a dialogue with absence, of what has gone, of what isn’t there. What do we give over to the unknown, with the rain that washes the world clean?
He is saying between quotation marks
that look like droplets of rain
suspended near the edge
of my windowpane,
he is saying,
“And I run like mad
Never catching up with myself.”
Benilda Santos writes of a dialogue—with oneself, with the rain, with poetry—and crafts a portrait of Yevtushenko and a meditation on the metaphysical. The rain amplifies the resonance of poetry itself, revealing how words become a refuge, a shelter, and a conduit for connection in the face of life’s transient nature.
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,
Carol Ann Duffy’s “Rain” is a song of solitude and yearning. The rain soothes, cleanses, and reveals, as if a blessing come down to envelop the body, hinting at the mysteries and wonders that linger beneath our everyday lives.
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.
What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
In Creeley’s “The Rain”, we find a longing for connection and fulfilment. There is a yearning to be loved deeply, and a constant search for balance—for love that, like rain, nurtures and soothes, amidst the uncertainties of life.
It is not the rain that wanly
Sobs its tale across the bay…
…But the phantom of your voice that
Stays me dreaming at my door.
On the surface, it feels as if “Ermita in the Rain” by Angela Manalang-Gloria merely embodies the city’s beauty and melancholy. Manalang-Gloria, a celebrated Filipina poet known for her feminist commentary, uses the medium of poetry as a tool of resistance. This poem speaks of unvarnished truths—the stark realities women face—dreams put on hold, lives caught in a stagnant loop, and aspirations smothered by societal expectations. Like the ceaseless downpour of the rain, the struggles of the women in her verses are often unseen, silently absorbed by the city streets.
A cold rain starting
And no hat —
Matsuo Bashō’s haiku, “A cold rain starting…” captures the essence of the transient and ephemeral. In the precision of its language, the rain emerges as a conduit to the infinite, a link between the human heart and the universe—of surrendering to nature and what it has to offer.
What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.
“our glosses / wanting in this world” “Can you remember?”
Anyone! “when we thought / the poets taught” even the rain?
After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.
In Agha Shahid Ali’s stirring poem “Even the Rain,” the relentless rhythm of rainfall is the backdrop for a deeply poignant meditation on loss, love, and the stark reality of mortality. A thread of nostalgia paints a portrait of personal relationships that once were. Diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and faced with the undeniable prospect of his approaching end, Ali introduces the sombre theme of death into his narrative. Here, the significance of rain, so vital to our lives and memories, becomes tinged with poignant futility. What meaning does it hold, after all, when faced with the ultimate finality of death?
I have given
or would have given
life to the grain;
but if it will not grow or ripen
with the rain of beauty,
the rain will return to the cloud
The selected verses from “The Flowering of the Rod” by H.D. explore creation and beauty. H.D., known for her works during the Imagism movement and exploration of feminine themes, employs rain as a meditation on the cycles of giving, receiving, growth, and return that underpin both the natural world and our human experiences.
It seemed unnecessary to touch you, to see you again.
I wanted only this:
the room, the chair, the sound of the rain falling,
hour after hour, in the warmth of the spring night.
I needed nothing more; I was utterly sated.
My heart had become very small; it took very little to fill it.
I watched the rain falling in heavy sheets over the darkened city —
In Louise Glück’s “Eros”, we witness the speaker’s evolution from heartbreak to acceptance after the end of a relationship. An undercurrent of empowerment courses through the lines, a quiet assertion of the speaker’s agency and resilience amidst change. The sense of contentment that pervades the poem is not merely a passive state; it is the fruit of a deep, determined inner work. Glück’s use of the rain as a metaphor might also be seen as a symbol for the speaker’s emerging clarity and acceptance, a washing away of the lingering shadows of the past, where heartbreak transforms into healing.
From Joy Harjo’s celebration of life to Louise Glück’s meditation on love, these poems about rain have mirrored the human condition, resonating with our emotions, echoing our narratives, and bearing witness to our existence. As we navigate through life, may we carry these poems with us—finding comfort, finding connection, finding ourselves in the rhythm of the rain, and the ebb and flow of our experiences.