I may have mentioned this already, but, the wintry stretch of time between Christmas and Spring feels so very long. Even as I write this, I feel guilty for complaining: outside the morning sun beams are gilding the trees, Warm light slants across the snow, sending peach-hued streaks across the cold blue. For all this beauty–it’s still cold, and not only cold, but also dry. So very dry, that I wake up feeling like a rusty machine, and only feel moderately better after a shower and a steaming cup of tea. Lately, I’ve found myself daydreaming of warm spring rains (the very rains I realize I will likely complain about halfway through May–such whiny things we humans are).
In the midst of this dry, longing time, a lovely, living poem has not only come to my attention, but taken up residence in my mind and heart. Please read it aloud to yourself, savoring the sounds, the cadence. If only for its images and music, it is worth a read. But then–if in seeing and hearing it, you find the refreshment of water, the wonder of life coming from apparent dryness and death, the delight of repetition, the miracle of Sacrament… and then turn to the winter window with hope…perhaps you, too, will see why this poem has lodged itself so well within me.
The Rain Stick (Seamus Heaney)
Upend the rainstick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known
To listen for. In a cactus stalk
Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe
Being played by water, you shake it again lightly
And diminuendo runs through all its scales
Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes
A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,
Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;
Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.
Upend the stick again. What happens next
Is undiminished for having happened once.
Twice, ten, a thousand times before.
Who cares if the music that transpires
Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?
You are like a rich man entering heaven
Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.