for Edward Thomas
I thought I knew all the kinds of rain there were:
The drizzle so faint it hardly seems to stir
The dust upon the hedgerows and the lanes;
And then the heavy sudden summer-rains,
The only force to which the dry ground yields,
That sweep across the brown and parching fields
As swiftly as a thick grey curtain falls;
All downpours, cloudbursts, showers, storms and squalls,
That fall on every land across the earth.
On roof and rock and seashore, on fell and firth,
I’ve heard the changing music of their fall.
The kind I think I know the best of all
Is the soft, steady, unremitting rain
That comes down without let-up or refrain,
That often falls in Spring, and like the Spring,
That works its patient way into everything.
This is a kind I have not felt before,
This rain is like that rain, but there is more,
Somehow, in the way that it falls and sounds and feels
On my head and hands and shoulders, while my heels
Plash through the puddles of the old sheep track.
A thousand times I’ve walked it out and back,
And know each stone and bramble, yet somehow,
Their shades and textures all are different now,
And every crest of every feeble rise
Brings to me new delight and new surprise,
For all things are made new beneath the rain
That never once before, and never again
Will fall upon my upturned face the way
It falls upon me now, this late Spring day.
Thomas Tyrrell has recently completed his PhD thesis, Remapping Milton: Place, Space and Influence 1700-1800. He was awarded the 2017 Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award for poetry, and lives in Cardiff.