rain light


Last Saturday, it rained for the first time in weeks. It wasn't the heavy rain we had longed for, to counter California's lingering drought, but it was much welcomed nonetheless. I met up with an old friend, a fellow Capricorn, whom I haven't seen in a long time, and we had coffee and brunch to celebrate our birthdays. We also went to one of my favorite places in the city, the backyard garden at the General Store, and its lovely little greenhouse.

This greenhouse just makes me so happy. But it was especially magical that morning, surrounded with twinkling fairy lights and misty rain on the windowpanes. If I wasn't feeling cold, I could have stayed there longer, just watching the rain.

I decided to treat myself for my birthday and spent a long time mulling over which item to buy, since I pretty much want everything in the General Store. In the end, I picked a beautiful hand painted mug by LA-based artists Kat and Roger (you can see photos of their pieces here). It may have been a bit of a splurge but it is also something that I will take delight in using everyday, when I drink my coffee or tea, and a reminder to surround myself with the things that I love.

I always pick a poem to welcome the new year, and for the past week I've been gathering some pieces, but none of them felt right. Then I read this poem and I instantly knew it is the one. I love its quiet sureness, how simple and profound it is at the same time. The first four lines really touched me to the core. (You can listen to the audio here).

Rain Light

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning

-- W.S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius

I was first introduced to W.S. Merwin through reading his translations of Pablo Neruda's poetry when I was still in college. Although he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice (1971 and 2009),  he is one of the lesser read poets of our generation. I'm really looking forward to reading and sharing his poetry this year.  Also, I found out from his interview for The Kenyon Review, that every line in Rain Light is composed of nine syllables. Isn't that amazing?

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