“There will come soft rains…”

It has been raining here. Wind in the fir trees, wind rattling the shutters and soft, almost incessant rain.

The summer and autumn were long, hot and dry. The neighbours were noisy and open windows let in little cool air and plenty of racket; so when the temperature finally dropped it was a pleasure to close the windows and listen the gentle drum of rain on the roof.

My favourite stream in the woods has been dry for months, but after so much rain I felt sure it must be running again.

Today we squelched up passed the bare trees and luminous moss to find clear water running over scoured rocks.

The sound was deliciously simple and clean. The great sponge of the forest had soaked up enough rain to allow the stream to flow above ground again, sweeping away the dark autumn leaves of the bed to reveal the bright pale limestone beneath. The rain patered on the brim of my felt hat. The harts’ tongue ferns glowed green in the winter gloom; a whirl of chaffinches shook water from the smooth beeches and the ravens laughed high over head : “there will come soft rains…”


There Will Come Soft Rains

Sara Teasdale, 18841933

(War Time)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, 
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

From The Language of Spring, edited by Robert Atwan, published by Beacon Press, 2003.


18 thoughts on ““There will come soft rains…”

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I’m familiar with the title of this poem, but I’ve not read it right through before and I found it to be truly beautiful and so relevant to modern times: ‘Not one would mind neither bird nor tree if mankind perished utterly’.
    How wonderful to have streams running, it’s more than a year since that happened here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl Capaldo Traylor says:

    One of my most favorite sounds. I’m glad the streams are singing for you now. Often on walks, I will pause by a stream or river for just one moment, only to find myself 20-30 minutes later still there immersed and mesmerized by the sound. Lovely and timely poem. I need to read more of her work.


  3. tanjabrittonwriter says:

    I am so glad that your year is ending with some precipitation, Cathy.

    Thank you for this new-to-me poem. I often share the author’s dejected attitude about humans, but keep trying to remind myself that we are not all bad, but also have our good sides. If only those tendencies prevailed over the negative, destructive ones.
    I wish you a peaceful end to the new year.


  4. Jet Eliot says:

    Really enjoyed this post, Cathy. Your ponderings on the earth and your surroundings, loved hearing about the chaffinches. Then moving into the rain and the highlighting of Sara Teasdale’s classic poem. Thanks so much.


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