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Philip Levine - The Rains

The river rises 
and the rains keep coming. 
My Papa says 
it can't flood for 
the water can run 
away as fast as 
it comes down. I believe 
him because he's Papa 
and because I'm afraid 
ofwater I know I can't stop. 
All day in school I 
see the windows darken, 
and hearing the steady drum 
of rain, I wonder 
if it wil1 ever stop 
and how can I get home. 

It did not flood. 
I cannot now remember 
how I got home. 
I recall only that the house 
was dark and cold, and I went 
from room to room calling 
out the names 
of all those I lived with 
and no one answered. For a time 
I thought the waters had swept 
them out to sea 
and this was all I had. At last 
I heard the door opening 
downstairs and my brother 
stamping his wet boots 
on the mat. 

Now when the autumn comes 
I go alone 
into the high mountains 
or sometimes with my wife, 
and we walk in silence 
down the trails 
of pine needles 
and hear the winds 
humming through the branches 
the long dirge of the world. 
Below us is the world 
we cannot see, have come 
not to see, soured 
with years of never 
giving enough, darkened 
with oils and fire, the world 
we could have come 
to call home. 

One day the rain 
will find us far 
from anything, crossing 
the great meadows 
the sun had hidden in. 
Hand in hand, we 
will go forward toward nothing 
while our clothes darken 
and our faces stream 
with the sweet waters 
of heaven. Your eyes, 
suddenly deep and dark in that light, 
will overflow with joy 
or sadness, with all 
you have no names for. 
This is who you are. 
That other life below 
was what you dreamed 
and I am the man beside you.

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The Rains - Comments and Information

Poet: Philip Levine
Poem: The Rains
Poem of the Day: Sep 14 2009
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