Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tumbleweeds, Homer and Rain

We're having some serious WEATHER right now in Los Angeles -- wind, rain, hail, etc. My good friend D, who I've known since college, told me that as he drove on the freeway tonight in a torrential downpour, an enormous tumbleweed came barreling down the road and passed him. We love to share traffic stories (especially the ones you hear on the radio, the reports of four lanes blocked by mattresses and watch out for the fast lane on the 405 because there appears to be a fistfight happening with spectators, etc.) -- this is Los Angeles and it's crazy anytime but especially nutty during a storm.

I was reading the Sunday paper tonight as the rain pelted down (yeah, I haven't gotten to it and it's Thursday) and got to the book review. After deciding that I need to read Joshua Ferris' new novel The Unnamed, I read an article about a poet named Don Thompson, a largely unknown and obscure poet of the central valley in California. The article was intriguing because the poet is evidently quite distinguished and little published and virtually unknown. He works as a teacher in a local prison and was encouraged early in his life by e.e. cummings. Here's one of his poems, from the chapbook Where We Live, published by Parallel Press in 2009.

I don't know if it's the iteration of Homer or the wild beauty of it on this rainy night, but I really, really like it.

Edward Thomas, Homer, Rain

Who knows how long it takes a raindrop
to make it home from the mud to the clouds.
Those charts in the textbooks with arrows
flowing clockwise, uninterrupted,
don't tell the whole story
anymore than dotted lines on a map
show us the travels of Odysseus.

This is the epic of rain:
not reincarnation, not purgatory,
but something like a thousand years
waiting in line at Disneyland
just to leap from a cloud
and free fall, bursting with joy
against stone or leaf.

Who's to say the rain on my window
didn't thin the blood of a poet
somewhere in France at Easter, 1917.
And who's to say one drop
didn't splash on Homer's tongue
when he lifted his face,
tasting what he'd never see.


  1. Water. I always wonder if I've ever drunk a drop that Cleopatra peed. I hope so.

  2. Beautiful Elizabeth.

    By the way all my supersitions are due to my Mother who was a young girl from the highlands of Scotland.

    Hope the family is well today.

    Love Renee xoxo

  3. I love it. Wild beauty on this rainy night indeed!

  4. beautiful poem. Thanks. I'll keep an eye out for his work. We've had crazy rain up here in NorCal as well. 7.25 inches in only two days and wild wind. I love it!

  5. It's a very beautiful poem. Many thanks for posting it.

    Greetings from London.

  6. "tasting what he'd never see." I love that.

  7. I've wondered the same thing ....
    and you guys are getting the rain we usually get right now. It comes all the way across the Pacific from China ....

  8. It just started raining again... I liked that poem. I've thought about it before... where the water that's drenching my hair has been before... I hadn't really thought about it this week, but now I am again. Thanks. :-)

    I also want to say that I found your blog through the Epilepsy Foundation newsletter... I wanted to share my own website with you... my ex-fiance and I lost his daughter a few years ago to epilepsy. She drowned in the bathtub. I started a website with information on water safety, and then branched out into alternative cures for epilepsy. I am reading a book right now on another method... a mother of a girl with epilepsy wrote it and sent it to me, and I'll be posting about that when I finish it. Anyway, I thought you might be interested.


  9. I love how he has waiting in Disneyland and Homer in the same poem!

  10. oooh, I love that poem too. Thanks for sharing it.
    I read it aloud. Great way to start my day.

  11. What a wonderful poem. Water is life. Life is change and flow. We're essence in the stream. I loved it too.

    Congratulations on having weather! You've talked before about the sameness of your wonderful weather. There's energy in the air of tumult, it sounds in the words of your post.

  12. Beautiful poem! I do love everything water. Its trying to rain here right now. The whole sky is flirting with the idea.



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