I never, ever moaned about the rain,
I liked unfurling black, umbrella wings
over my metre wide psychic domain;

loved how grass verges flushed and gutters sang
their warbly baritones. My pasty skin
could breath in those conditions, felt no pangs

of severance from our blazing mother sun,
the hydrogen homestead, our atoms’ maker.
We might be made of stars but life began

within the churning plenitude of water.



Just like on that ill-fated summer’s day
when Shakespeare went outdoors without his cloak,
I’m huddled at the bus stop as the rain

bombards me from all vantage points and soaks
me to the skin despite the roof above
that proves no shelter at all yet I’m yoked

to it regardless til the red bus drives
into my view and I jump up and wave
like a castaway waving for his life

as a small biplane streaks the skies above.
Bit these skies are falling and I don’t know
if I’m visible enough to be saved

or if I’m but a blur beyond the flow
of sluicing torrents, the endless stream
that ripples down the bus driver’s window

making the world beyond seem like a dream.


If some forests can be called rainforests
then London should be called a raincity,
the way it washes away what is left

of spent syringes, pitta bread and bitty
remnants of pigeons that knew
the heighest heights of glass monstrosities

that rainbows lack the sharpness to cut through.
The plane trees spread their roots beneath concrete
with the ease that we push pinky toes

under a fresh duvet. The gleaming streets
are just a thoroughfare to the rivers
that live beneath the groan of sewage grates,

just as the swelling Thames moves to deliver
its bounty past the aptly named Gravesend;
leaving the city greener, leafier

before the fumes and tempers flare again.


There is a slight relief that comes with rain
although it empties parks and halts the play
mid set; or when we amble off the train

and make a dash for shelter, our baby
exposed for a moment to the deluge.
The relief settled in because, maybe,

the morning’s shouting match wasn’t assuaged
by mumbled sorrys heading out the door,
and their effectiveness cannot be guaged

against a sheet where hubby points are scored.
Perhaps it’s because nothing can hold tight
against the torrents of the hard downpour

that does not discern who was wrong or right.


You were born in a long month of rain,
a low ceiling of cloud, the outside world
drumming its fingers on the window pane,

during this second month, that mid May cold
has given way to clammy, sweaty nights,
you’re in the bedroom, breathing heavy, sprawled

across the fleece. Outside, the erring light
marks the surrender of relentless day,
your mewling sleep is anything but tight,

through a thin crack in the door I spy
on you, make sure your insatiable breath
is confirmed for my patriarchal eye.

I’ve never known a fear like this. I’m blessed.


Within the first few seconds since the door
clicked shut to confirm that we were outside—
the three of us, making a break, together—

the first drops fell, splat fat and finger wide,
but after a week inside the dark flat
our outbound urge was not to be denied

and so, with brolly up and pushchair wrapped
we pushed of, the front wheel become the prow
of our ship as our little princess napped

as the four walled echoes became a slough
of tap tap taps and swishing hatchback tires
and pavements were washed squeaky for our tour

past swanky homes that would never be ours.


The day is full of rain. The cherry blossoms,
carry themselves, in silence, gutterwards,
fresh green willow branches pierce the gloom.

We’re washing the world clean, moving towards
your future world, the one we’ll never know.
Even these musty, overminted words

will gleam when your mouth frames them, coined anew.


The first New Year I’ve seen for quite a while
without a hangover. The day might be
a grey one but I know that within all

the fat raindrops that fall on the city,
are mirrors that reflect all that’s in sight,
each one a bead of utmost clarity,

a billion traps to catch the failing light.

Canto LXV

Sometimes, when running through the rain I feel
as if I’ve crossed a boundary between
the need to stay dry and the subtle pull

towards the element from which life came.
I must confess that I have felt the urge
to leap from clifftop, bridge or man made dam,

as if my body’s own waters have heard
the song of crashing waves beyond my skin
and will me on to leap so they can purge

these twee constraints of soft tissue and bone.
There is a point when we no longer feel
that sensation of wetness, such as when

we dive into the chilly swimming pool
or lower into a hot, steaming bath
as the room’s air attains an alien chill.

So, as I tread the muddy jogging path,
I think of Darwin’s quote about the bear
“swimming for hours with widely open mouth”

to catch insects and thus the bear appeared
to the great man as something like a whale,
and after a few million passing years

could become like one. So, as the rain falls,
more beast of burden than hunter of stealth,
I open up my mouth and let it fill,

and become something bigger than myself.

Canto LVI

It seems the rain only dares to come at night
when pinhead bongos rattle window glass
to summon us from dreams as if to state

that this is the new tempo we must place
our archetypal images upon,
or stirring battle drums so we can face

the fears that jingle jangle deep within
like pocket change inside an old settee.
When daylight issues through our threadbare curtains,

forgetting dreams, we still hold memories
of glugging gutters, roots drinking a good fill,
outside we see the sodden wads of leaves,

the blameless sun above bourgeois Herne Hill.

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