Photo by Scott Olson

I end this month of poetry with the lyric to a song I wrote years ago. It is unrecorded and I’ve rarely performed it. I thought of it on a recent trip back to Iowa. Although much has changed since I left, there is something about the vast skies and horizons and the endless fields of corn that makes me feel how everything revolves around the weather. I doubt if ever had a conversation with my mother or father that did not touch on the forecast.

I think people who make a living from the land are always conscious how we all live on the edge.   Now all of us are becoming aware of how we may be swept away by storms or see green pastures turn to desert.

It is difficult for me at times to not despair of where we are headed. And yet…despair only hastens our demise. Despite the seeming death wish by so many in power, the world remains impossibly and indescribably beautiful  If I feel that how could I not continue to hope and to take action so that this miracle is here for generations who follow?

Thank you all for reading these poems this month. It has been such a pleasure to write and share them. And thank you for all of your contributions to The Center for New Americans.

I will be playing this song at my performances on November 30 and December 7.

Let It Rain

The flowers were fading, the fields were ablaze,
that summer went on.
If there wasn’t rain in three or four days
the crops would be gone.

It was under the blue of an Iowa sky
When first I knew fathers could cry.
We walked to the center of a suffering field,
he took my hand and said we should kneel.

And he said, “Dear God, I want you to hear.
I’ve given this land nearly all of my years.
I’ve given my sweat, I’m giving my tears.
Let it rain.”

In the middle of the night, I awoke to the sight
of my father’s bright eyes.
Then I heard the sound of the rain coming down
from a comforting sky

We went to the yard, he took my hands
that’s when I first saw, fathers could dance.
This man so silent, reserved, restrained,
now leapt so high as we waltzed in the rain.

And we went to that place where before we had knelt
and the rain fell like grace and we laughed at ourselves
But his kiss on my face, was all that I felt,
in the rain.

Fathers will die, sons grow old.
He said goodbye, the land was sold.
I looked to the sky, I wanted to hold
the rain.

I moved to the city where life is rehearsed,
where traffic is frantic and rain makes it worse.
It ruins my weekends, so I learned to curse
the rain.

It was on the day my daughter turned three,
we went to the park.
I had it all thought out, how it would be
then the sky got dark.

I packed up the car, got ready to run
when at last I saw how lost I’d become.
While I felt regret for me and my daughter,
she was all wet, dancing in the water.

And I thought of that place where before we had knelt
and the rain fell like grace and we laughed at ourselves
But her kiss on my face, was all that I felt,
in the rain.

Let it rain.

Let the rain come down and take these fears.
Let the rain come down and take these tears.

Let it rain.

 

Throughout November I am writing a poem a day in an effort to raise money for The Center for New Americans, an organization that is located in Western Massachusetts and does great work in acclimating our new citizens to their new homes.

You may help by going here.

If you appreciate my efforts and my work please share.

Also, most of you know I am moving to Oregon at the end of the year. Before I leave I will bedoing two shows.  Both will be in Amherst at the NACUL Center at 7:00 on November 30 and December 7. Proceeds will benefit The Center for New Americans.

I will be joined by these fine musicians: Joe Ricker, Andrew Atkin, Dave Haughey, Billy Klock and Dan Thomas.

  

2 Comments

  • This is a great song. It’s been a pleasure to read your poems this month. Melancholy, too, because you’re leaving our happy valley. But I’m glad you’re looking to new horizons with hope and excitement, not despair.

  • Great stuff Dennis! Thank you for sharing. Wish I could be there tonight to see you perform. Hopefully we’ll get to see each other before you move on. ;0)

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