Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Traveler Who Loves the Rain

The follwing are two versions of the same poem. I begain the poem in an attempt to write a Villanelle, but then experimented with several shorter forms. The first is the original, and the second is the best of the shortened versions:

Don’t ask that life be good to you, or free from pain,
Lest you, betrayed, should stumble on the slip’ry ground,
And fall, a bloodied traveler who hates the rain.

And rising, do not shake your fist aloft, in vain:
The sky is brooding, dark, and ever without sound;
This life will not be easy, or lived free from pain.

The blood and dirt mix on your coat, a spreading stain,
And drip (a sting, each drop) from fingers to the ground,
From you, a weary traveler who hates the rain.

The water’s running down your arm in little veins,
And washes down your coat and cleans your dirty wound;
Don’t ask that life be always kind, without this pain.

But readjust your pack: you are hurt, not slain,
Stand fast, and take a footing on this muddy mound,
You silent, brooding traveler beneath the rain.

Look down this gritty road, this black and muddy lane;
A way was made for you until you’re homeward bound:
“Don’t ask that life be kind to you, or free from pain,
But learn to be a traveler who loves the rain.”

---

I asked that life be good to me, and free from pain,
And I, betrayed, soon stumble on the slip’ry ground;
And rising, then, I shook my fist aloft, in vain;
The sky was brooding, dark, and ever without sound.

The blood and dirt mixed on my shirt, a gritty stain,
And dripped (a sting, each drop) from fingers to the ground;
The rain ran down my wounded arm in little veins,
Until, through all the darkness, came a voice, a sound:

“Now readjust your pack: you are hurt, not slain,
Stand fast, and take a footing on this muddy mound,
Don’t ask that life be kind to you, or free from pain;
A way was made for you until you’re homeward bound.”

5 comments:

Lostariel said...

Thanks for this.

James Dunn said...

This is excellent, Ezra. I like the original more, I think; I like how it contains the contrast between a traveler who hates the rain and a traveler who loves the rain. I'm not sure which I prefer: the three-verse stanzas or the four-verse stanzas.
Needless to say, this is a powerful poem, no matter which form its in (though overall, I think the longer one has more power in it).

Kyleigh said...

I think I like it in first person better, but otherwise I like the first version better.
I love the line: "But readjust your pack; you are hurt, not slain."

Ezra said...

Hmm. Thanks for the thoughts - it was a fun poem to write.

Poetress said...

I really like this. Thanks so much for posting it.
-Whitney, your brother Nat's adopted, NEFC sister