But the world is beautifully made for doing good and for resting

A rainy day in Boulder Creek, California. December, 2019.

“A Quiet Joy”
by Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)

I’m standing in a place where I once loved.
The rain is falling. The rain is my home.

I think words of longing: a landscape
out to the very edge of what’s possible.

I remember you waving your hand
as if wiping mist from the windowpane,

and your face, as if enlarged
from an old blurred photo.

Once I committed a terrible wrong
to myself and others.

But the world is beautifully made for doing good
and for resting, like a park bench.

And late in life I discovered
a quiet joy
like a serious disease that’s discovered too late:

just a little time left now for quiet joy.


I don’t want to forget who I am

It seems that rain poems are not out of my system just yet, perhaps due to the lovely downpour happening outside my kitchen window as I type. Here’s a powerfully compact one from Denise Levertov (1923-1997).

“The Five-Day Rain”

The washing hanging from the lemon tree
in the rain
and the grass long and coarse.

Sequence broken, tension
of sunlight broken.
                            So light a rain

fine shreds
pending above the rigid leaves.

Wear scarlet! Tear the green lemons
off the tree!     I don’t want
to forget who I am, what has burned in me
and hang limp and clean, an empty dress —