Rain on the Roof

February 20, 2009

This Friday’s poem chose itself because we’re having a lovely rain – just what those of us trying to grow grass need, although anyone trying to harvest may not be quite as enthusiastic.

I first came across Rain on the Roof  by Janet Frame in Otago University’s paper Critic when I was a student, but copied it today from Janet Frame stories & poems published by Vintage.


                 Rain on the Roof


My nephew sleeping in a basement room

has put a sheet of iron outside his window

to recapture the sound of rain falling on the roof.


I do not say to him, The heart has its own comfort for grief.

A sheet of iron repairs roofs only. As yet unhurt by

     the demand

that change and difference never show, he is still able

to mend damages by creating the loved rain-sound

he thinks he knew in early childhood.


Nor do I say, In the travelling life of loss

iron is a burden, that one day he must find

within himself in total darkness and silence

the iron that will hold not only the lost sound of the rain

but the sun, the voices of the dead, and all else that

      has gone.


                      – Janet Frame –

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