Picture
It has rained almost every day for the past several weeks. Flood alerts, watches, and warnings have frequently interrupted news broadcasts and afternoon classics. It's easy to relate to the incessant rain which provides the backdrop from this poem. The "common rain" goes on and on, mimicked by the run on sentence which doesn't come to a close until halfway down the page.  The rain, "pale and anonymous," threatens to diminish the sense of selfhood of the poet. Tea, whiskey, ice and a pleasant fire cannot quench the melancholy which the evening brings. As the poet sits with his "causeless sadness", something unexplicable happens; he is suddenly surprised by a spontaneous gladness. The rain somehow awakens him to the fact that there is something more, something beyond his present waking consciousness. Some mystical connection has been made, some deep knowing has been evoked.
 
Several friends have recently discovered the benefits of sitting with their pain, observing their negative emotions. They neither suppress them, nor give them permission to dictate their actions. If they have something to learn from the emotions, they do so. Otherwise, they take note of them until they dissipate. Sometimes they are given a gift, an insight into an untended brokenness or deep yearning; at other times the feelings are only shadows themselves, left over from wrongs long forgiven, or wisps of nostalgia which dissipate like mists caught in the morning sun. No matter, they remain present, perhaps at the moment weakened, but strong enough to wait it out.

The First Night of Fall and Falling Rain
By Delmore Schwartz


The common rain had come again
Slanting and colorless, pale and anonymous,
Fainting falling in the first  evening
Of the first perception of the actual fall,
The long and late light had slowly gathered up
A sooty wood of clouded sky, dim and distant more and 
    more
Until, as dusk, the very sense of selfhood waned,
A weakening nothing halted, diminished or denied or set    
   aside
Neither tea, nor, after an hour, whiskey,
Ice and then a pleasant glow, a burning,
And the first leaping wood fire
Since a cold  night in May, too long ago to be more than
Merely a cold and vivid memory.
Staring, empty, and without thought
Beyond the rising mists of the emotion of causeless 
   sadness,
How suddenly all consciousness leaped in spontaneous 
   gladness;
Knowing without thinking how the falling rain (outside, all 
  over)
In slow sustained consistent vibration all over outside
Tapping window, streaking roof,
   running down runnel and drain
Waking a sense, once more, of all that lived outside of us,
Beyond emotion, far beyond the swollen
   distorted shadows and lights
Of the toy town and the vanity fair
   of waking consciousness!

 from Last and Lost Poems of Delmore Schwartz © The Vanguard Press.



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