Naming the Rain in the Gaeltacht

At the request of a person browsing in Dulwich Books who had heard this poem read on an Irish radio programme here is Naming the Rain in the Gaeltacht written in summer 2007  and first published in the Irish poetry journal, THE SHOp, no. 28, Autumn 2008.

The rains, different every day, different according to the light and the wind speed across Brandon Bay, were incredibly varied in their effects on lanes and tracks and on our forays into the landscape.

Naming the Rain

In your tongue there are thirteen words for rain,

so tell me one

to match the clumsy rush of wet that whooshes

up the lane, inflating and detaching

hedges’ awnings, upsetting fuchsia’s red umbrellas, hurling slip-slop

scoops of honeysuckle,

cramming mouths of field drains with meadowsweet,

and maybe it’s the same

along the coast road, up-flung salted spray which whitens

shoes, rusts bikes, burnishes and buffs

tarmac to mirrors.

Early summer mornings, there’s a rain that sweeps

the bay, rounds up sea-mist,

herds its water into corries

in the saddle of Mount Brandon.

And can you name this rain that whistles, reedy, low,

a tune that wakes us

to no field, tide-line, roof or peak?

For while we slept it rained away

the world that called us to the window.