We thought a day and a night of steady rain
Was plenty, but it's falling again, downright
I like it well enough, the mild crackle
In the alleyway, lulling or minatory, either way
Full of the freshness of life. Much like words.
But words don't fall exactly; they hang there
In the heaven of language, immune to gravity
If not to time, entering your mind
From no direction, travelling no distance at
And with rainy persistence tease from the spread
So many ravishing scents. And they recur,
Delicious to nose and tongue. The word cunt
Often recurs, the word more than the thing,
Perhaps because I came to it so late.
Ocean recurs, perhaps for the same reason, and
Horseman and horse manure, bridal, sap,
And lap with its childish and charming delight
And denial describes its orbit, and blight, and
And though I'd argue that those smells of earth
Under the rain's long kneading hands are sweeter
And more ambiguous than any words,
Darkness, one word that does seem to fall,
Falls, and we're back where we started from.
Collected Poems: 1952-1999, University of
2000. Reprinted by permission of the author.