Penelope Shuttle

June 24, 2013


Penelope Shuttle

Still Falls the Rain. When I re-read it, it was so awful that I couldnt bring myself to type it out. The title and refrain is wonderful the poem less so.

As we in parts of England, including my part, are flooded out just now, I was determined to find a rain poem, so I have chosen this one by British-born poet, Penelope Shuttle, (1947), which is an amazing name for a poet, when you think about Penelope weaving and unweaving Ulysses back to Ithaca.

This poem has all the rain-sounds in it, in the SSSS and ZZZ, and reads outloud very well.

It is an environment poem, in that we somehow expect the planet to pay for everything we do, and in the absurdity of economists and materialists wanting to cost and tax every natural thing given to us for free.


When I wake the rains falling
and I think, as always, its for the best.

I remember how much I love rain,
the weakest and strongest of us all;

as I listen to its yeses and nos,
I think how many men and women

would, if they could,
against all sense and nature,

tax the rain for its privileges;

make it pay for soaking our earth
and splashing all over our leaves;
pay for muddying our grass
and amusing itself with our roots.

Let rain be taxed, they say
for riding on our rivers
and drenching our sleeves;

for loitering in our lakes
and reservoirs. Make rain pay its way.

make it pay for lying full length
in the long straight sedate green waters

of our city canals
and for working its way through processes

of dreamy complexity
until this too- long untaxed rain comes indoors,

and touches our lips,
bringing assuagement- for rain comes

to slake all our thirsts, spurting
brusque and thrilling in hot needles,

showering on to anyone naked;
or blaming our skins in the shape of scented baths.

Yes, they are many whod like to tax the rain;
even now, they whisper, it can be done, it must be done.