Rain at Reading

By Rachel Wetzsteon 1967–2009 Rachel Wetzsteon
We had gathered under a tent in the park
for some words before lunch and after separate mornings,
and when—twice—the poet said “capital,”
the lightning bolts that followed the noun
had me bolting too; I’d always suspected
God’s communist leanings, but now I regretted
how few exchanges we know
between craft and climate:

imagine a rhyme inciting a rainbow,
blood feuds bruising the sky,
hymns of forgiveness bringing a soft
new light to the faces watching the last act,
waltzes and songs and declamations—
this would be capital entertainment!—
locked in a clinch with open air.

But the lightning was as quick as it was loud.
The clouds dispersed,
and then so did the crowd.

Source: Poetry (October 2010).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2010
 Rachel  Wetzsteon

Biography

Born in Manhattan, poet and editor Rachel Wetzsteon received degrees from Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. She made her home in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which is the setting for many of her formally assured poems. Influenced by Charles Baudelaire, Soren Kierkegaard, and Philip Larkin, Wetzsteon infused her urban and emotional landscapes with a dry wit. As critic Adam . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Weather, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.