After Rain

It’s the title of one of the late P.K. Page’s poems, a favourite of mine, her and the poem. I knew her in Victoria when I was a girl, a young poet looking for a model, I guess. And she was such a good one. I hear her reading this poem as I read it now, her elegant voice, her beautiful hands holding her book. This was the poem I thought of in the night when I woke to hear rain on our blue roof. There was a brief shower the other day and a more convincing one in the night. Still not enough rain for these aching woods, the gardens, the creeks and rivers and reservoirs. But welcome, all the same.

I loved walking around my garden this morning and see the moisture on the leaves,

salad days

the shoulders of the tomatoes.

princes in waitingA little rain after months of intense heat — I picked a colander of tomatoes and then went back for these three, as lovely as a still-life:

we three kings

I wonder if we’d appreciate that sound of rain if we’d heard it in March, unrelenting, or a patch of salad greens if it hadn’t taken a fair bit of cultivation to have them ready for the table. I think of how absence makes the heart not just fonder but it provides the template for what’s to come (I’m anticipating the arrival of all my children and their partners and treasured grandbaby Kelly next week). What dry stones look like in a creek bed you cross in winter, one careful foot at a time as the waters rush around you. The blackberries earlier this week, their laden canes the same ones that latticed the trail bare in autumn. The sound of loons this morning after a run of quiet dawns.

And choir me too to keep my heart a size

larger than seeing, unseduced by eath

bright glimpse of beauty striking like a bell,

so that the whole may toll,

its meaning shine

clear of the myriad images that still —

do what I will — encumber its pure line.

— P.K. Page, from “After Rain”

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