Rain on the Roof – Coates Kinney


Stanza 1

When the humid shadows hover
Over all the starry spheres,
And the melancholy darkness
Gently weeps in rainy tears,
What a bliss to press the pillow
Of a cottage-chamber bed,
And to listen to the patter
Of the soft rain overhead!

Every tinkle on the shingles
Has an echo in the heart;
And a thousand dreamy fancies
Into busy being start,
And a thousand recollections
Weave their air-threads into woof,
As I listen to the patter
Of the rain upon the roof.

  • When raindrops fall upon the pebbles on the sea-shore, I can hear the same sound in my mind (heart).
  • Fancies – Imagination
  • Busy being start – They start being busy.
  • Thousands of dream-like imagination start occupying my mind. (The poet becomes highly imaginative during rain)
  • Recollection – Memories
  • When it is raining, a lot of ideas and imaginations move faster in my mind (like weaving in a factory) and make some sort of poems (not mentioned directly), etc.
Stanza 3

Now in memory comes my mother,
As she used, in years agone,
To regard the darling dreamers
Ere she left them till the dawn:
O! I feel her fond look on me,
As I list to this refrain
Which is played upon the shingles
By the patter of the rain.

Meaning
  • As she used – As she used to look.
  • Agone – In the past
  • Darling dreamers –
  • Ere – Before
  • O’er – Over
  • Refrain – A poem
  • Whenever it rains, I remember my mother who died many years ago.
  • Regard – Look at lovingly.
  • To regard the darling dreamers – Mother used to come and lean over the babies (the poet and his sibling) early in the morning.
  • She left them till the dawn – She died before the poet and his siblings were still too small.
  • Dawn – Early morning.
  • As I list this refrain – As I write this poem. As I write this poem now, I feel like my mother (rain) is coming to see me with the rain.
Stanza 4

Then my little seraph sister, 25
With the wings and waving hair,
And her star-eyed cherub brother—
A serene angelic pair!—
Glide around my wakeful pillow,
With their praise or mild reproof, 30
As I listen to the murmur
Of the soft rain on the roof.

And another comes, to thrill me
With her eyes’ delicious blue;
And I mind not, musing on her, 35
That her heart was all untrue:
I remember but to love her
With a passion kin to pain,
And my heart’s quick pulses vibrate
To the patter of the rain. 40

Art hath naught of tone or cadence
That can work with such a spell
In the soul’s mysterious fountains,
Whence the tears of rapture well,
As that melody of nature, 45
That subdued, subduing strain
Which is played upon the shingles
By the patter of the rain.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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