Here is Southern Indiana, Spring is in full bloom. It is so exhilarating to see nature burst into life again. Along with arrays of color and greenery comes rainy days. They go hand in hand – without the rain we wouldn’t have the beauty of new life. However, I remember when my children were small. They itched to be out of doors and would awaken to rain – we would recite to them the old rhyme – “rain, rain go away, come again another day, little Johnny wants to play” to cheer them up.
O course, rain means different things in other parts of the world. In England and France where I grew up, it was a staple, a part of every day life and you never went out without an umbrella. As in the poem, Duck Weather by Shirley Hughes rain in Europe is mostly something adults grumble about. For the small child, it means a bright raincoat, shiny rain boots (or wellies, as they are called there) and puddles to splash in. What fun! For many of us, the sound of rain trickling down the gutters and the pitter patter in the roof at night, is soothing and relaxing like a lullaby as Langston Hughes describes it in April Rain Song.
In some parts of the world, there are rainy seasons and in others, rain is a rare and precious gift that the dusty dry, cracked earth gobbles up greedily, bringing much relief from the heat. I think Rain Music by Joseph Cotter and it’s drum like cadence is a good example of how rain can be music to our ears and we rejoice in it and praise God for it.
Finally, you can’t have a post about rain without including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Rain for it’s simplicity and depth. It comes down on my little umbrella, but also is expansive and reaches out over vast ocean. This is a great little poem to have a child learn by heart.
Splishing, splashing in the rain,
Up the street and back again,
Stomping, stamping through the flood,
We don’t mind a bit of mud.
Running pavements, gutters flowing,
All the cars with wipers going,
We don’t care about the weather,
Tramping hand in hand together.
We don’t mind a damp wet day,
Sloshing puddles all the way,
Splishing, splashing in the rain,
Up the street and back again.
Poem by Shirley Hughes (born in 1927). Shirley Hughes is a British author and illustrator. She has written over 50 books for children. She is the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1977 and 2003 for Dogger and Ella’s Big Chance. This poem is taken from Rhymes for Annie Rose. Did I mention I love Shirley Hughes?
April Rain Song
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.
Poem by Langston Hughes (1902-1967). He was an African American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. April Rain Song was taken from the Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.
On the dusty earth-drum
Beats the falling rain;
Now a whispered murmur,
Now a louder strain.
Slender, silvery drumsticks,
On an ancient drum,
Beat the mellow music
Bidding life to come.
Chords of earth awakened,
Notes of greening spring,
Rise and fall triumphant
Over every thing.
Slender, silvery drumsticks
Beat the long tattoo–
God, the Great Musician,
Calling life anew.
Poem by Joseph S. Cotter, Jr. (1861-1949) –
He was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph Cotter was one of the earliest African American playwrights. He was a poet, playwright, community leader and strong advocate for black education. Rain Music is taken from The Book of American Negro Poetry. Ed. James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.
The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author and is best known as the author of the children’s classic Treasure Island, and the adult horror story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He also published A Child’s Garden of Verses from which this poem was taken. Of great children’s writers, it is often said that the child in them never dies – A Child’s Garden of Verses is the perfect example of this – a must have for any child’s home library!)