Another wet Thursday! But today the water is specific to rain. We all have rain in common – too much, too little, gentle spring rain, torrential rain, rain mixed with snow or sleet. We walk, sing, dance, and play in the rain. We stay inside and drink soup or tea or something cozy with alcohol, read while it rains, listen to the rain on the roof before we go to sleep. We groan at the rain when we hae to walk in it to catch a bus or train and curse up a blue streak when a car goes by and SPLASH! thoroughly wets us through.
Basho wrote of rain:
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasp’s nest
And this from Robert Louis Stevenson. I memorized this as a child but always wondered, what kind of rain? Simple and delightful.
The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree.
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
The Japanese have 50+ words for rain. Being Japanese their words for rain are seasonal, specific, and at times, extremely artistic. We westerners look at rain as rain – the same rain that falls in the morning is the same rain that falls at night. Right? Nope. In fact, they created a poetic form that addresses the changing of the seasons, the nature, and the now – the haiku. The melancholy felt when the seasons changed and the climate changes took place are part of their concept of mono no aware (mo-no no awah-ray) and mujo (transition or change).
Here are some of their words for rain for you. I do not expect you to use the Japanese word you have chosen to write about. But, I’d like for you all to write a poem about rain – light rain, misty rain, welcome rain (after a drought), or rain and dew mixed for example. You may use any form you wish to write your poem. However, if you use haibun or haiku, please use the classic form meaning, for a haibun write a factual account of rain and for haiku, use a seasonal word. One of my favorite is kisame (kee sah may) – rain that drips from the leaves. Pick a favorite or two and write! Don’t forget your rainboots!