My lover is a rainstorm

My lover is a rainstorm

My lover is a thunderstorm
Grey ripples flickering
Tiny landscapes of stone
Upright, steadfast

And as I watch
My lover paints calligraphy
An illuminated landscape shrunken
waves of jointed, colourless bamboo
watery characters in
upright folds
with all the meaning of

The vacuum
Of the landscape words.

And I say Help me
I am outside, cold and wet

Drenched in chill fascination,
Rattling hollow spaces between drops
Distilling the dews of bronchial chambers.

Like the pine
I grasp the cliff

The morning sun
Drives my lover spectral
from my bed
fleeing colour
rising in

Waves breaking over the hills
Silver sky, silver water
Silver blues and greys
Silver greys, off-whites and almost black

as firm as the landscape it holds

And I say Help me, I am
bewildered, chilled
to the heart.

I know my lover from
Snatched glimpses through the grasses,

Snatched glimpses through the mist.

© Martin Porter 2008

My lover is a rainstorm is an exercise piece written on a wet Sunday afternoon. The poem is an extended metaphor and is based on a “picture” exercise.

The poem started by listing words describing a picture of a chinese landscape in rain. The colours are the most obvious remnants of this exercise, but the bamboo and the pine clinging to the cliff are also clearly a result of the exercise. The movement of the rain is based more on the weather at the time, which rolls down from the hills behind my home in waves. The extension of the poem to the morning is based on the mists that rise in the valley below our house in the morning. These are not uncommon in winter and spring mornings and have a wonderful atmosphere.

It would be an easy but unexciting exercise to continue to write a descriptive poem based on these observations. To spice things up, I decided to add the metaphor. The result was to produce a rather more interesting poem, that allowed the same observations to be put into a more creative context. It also makes the descriptions of being in a rainstorm a little more interesting – lets face it, “I got wet” is not the substance of gripping poetry as a rule.

This poem won second place in the “old hat” section of the recent competition for Northland writers for National Poetry Day and the Whangarei Winter Arts Festival.

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