Gift of Rain

When men from afar

arrived on the broad river

rain pushed them down,

offended them in smoke filled lodges

beneath strips of drying fish;

they wanted what was from their past

not this ocean deluge from the sky.

To understand water is a gift,

its softness lifting in cold air

sweeping in waves along the river,

cascading on iridescent green needles

until the ground, the sky and water are one,

the sound of rain opening,

tenderness swelling in every drop.




14 Responses to “Gift of Rain”

  1. Eleanor GillMilner says:

    You have captured a word picture of the rain in Oregon. I have seen this. The photo is typical of what David Arora’s book title states: “All That the Rain Promises”. We are blessed here in Oregon. Thanks, Don.

  2. David Banner says:

    Don…in our drought-stricken WI landscape, where they are talking about shutting down the Mississippi because the water is too low for barge traffic, water takes on a new dimension of appreciation…and your poem speaks to that appreciation as even more important than barge-traffic!

  3. Athena Coleman says:

    “Iridescent green needles” – what a beautiful phrase. It took 15 years of living in arid Taos to really begin to appreciate the gift that water is to any landscape. When we moved back to Oregon I realized that what I really missed was water. Thank you for this lovely poem.

  4. When I lived in 400 year old Santa Fe, NM, I was often amused by newcomers demanding changes in that ancient city. You could almost hear the city smile and say, “Yeah, riiiiight”. They wanted what was from their past imposed on what was and had been for centuries. Peacefulness came when they settled into the flow of the city…”Carpe manana”. To understand water is a gift was a gift of that high desert. It is something I will always remember.
    Now, I live in Oregon, too, and I carry the gift of reverence for water in it’s natural state. Rivers, lakes, trees, green…how lovely. But I’ll always thank that dry, windy, high desert for the understanding of water.

  5. Betty Doerr says:

    I’ve lived like a divining rod, alway seeking water–the shores of Huron, the the winter Pacific, the creek. Like Creeley, you capture it:
    All night the sound had
    come back again,
    and again falls
    this quiet, persistent rain.

  6. Robin Bryant says:

    Oh, how I love this Don. I traveled by train coming back from Seattle on Monday, in a NW downpour like no other I’ve experienced. The ground, the sky, and the water danced together .. the rivers swelled, the sky darkened, and the aliveness of the rain brought everything into one accord. I still relate water to Truth .. and this Scorpio women loves the GIFT! Thank You!

  7. Carol Carlson says:

    Experience a drought – rain is a gift. To know the gift, ask for it, and cover the land.

  8. Tom Wishing says:

    With the rain may come chanterelles. Bring ’em on! I’m ready.

  9. Nancy Rose Meeker says:

    Lovely, Don.

    Here in England, on a rainy day it’s common to hear “What a vile day!” “What miserable weather!”
    I always say inside, “This water brings the green that I love so much. I’m so happy in this green, abundant landscape. Thank you.”

  10. Here the brown grass of the long hot summer grows green now as winter rains refill our wells and ground turns moist and wet. Sun shines through the trees and wild lilies, grass and the garden “spring to life.” It speaks of a new view of abundance of all life and all seasons. Thanks Don for the inspiration.

  11. Xavier Coleman says:

    I too, like Nancy Rose, appreciate the moist, green, gentle atmosphere the rain creates, like the one we know on west coast of Oregon. But I also like the power She manifests at times with Her “violent storms”. She cleans away old stuff that needs to go. She stirs my heart with exitement. I love Her power. She is awesome and to be respected and honored.

  12. You are a true Oregonian, and this poem takes its place beside Kim Stafford’s Thousand Friends of Rain. Pitched exactly right with strong, specific contrasts.

  13. Maria Frid says:

    The smell of musk, the sight of lush shades of green, the pooling of water, the various insects that thrive in the moister, linger in my soul as I read this beautiful poem. My imagination wanders to childhood memories of walking through the rainforest, completely alive and curious. Thanks, Don, for sparking my imagination, and for the deep feelings that it brought up in me.

  14. John Haugse says:

    I ran across this old poem, Gift of Rain in my mailbox. It’s lovely and there is as in all your work a ring of acceptance in it. And that I admire very much.. As for me I think it best to let those who love it be in it. As always you inspire me to write a little one liner in response. Please excuse the layman’s gift.

    I hope to seldom see again
    the mist or dew or rain or fog.

    My heart near bursts the sun to feel
    while resting bones on yonder log.

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