Elizabeth Bishop

Song for the Rainy Season

 Hidden, oh hidden
 in the high fog
 the house we live in,
 beneath the magnetic rock,
 rain-, rainbow-ridden,
 where blood-black
 bromelias, lichens,
 owls, and the lint
 of the waterfalls cling,
 familiar, unbidden.

 In a dim age
 of water
 the brook sings loud
 from a rib cage
 of giant fern; vapor
 climbs up the thick growth
 effortlessly, turns back,
 holding them both,
 house and rock,
 in a private cloud.

 At night, on the roof,
 blind drops crawl
 and the ordinary brown
 owl gives us proof
 he can count:
 five times -- always five --
 he stamps and takes off
 after the fat frogs that,
 shrilling for love,
 clamber and mount.

 House, open house
 to the white dew
 and the milk-white sunrise
 kind to the eyes,
 to membership
 of silver fish, mouse,
 big moths; with a wall
 for the mildew's
 ignorant map;

 darkened and tarnished
 by the warm touch
 of the warm breath,
 maculate, cherished;
 rejoice! For a later
 era will differ.
 (O difference that kills
 or intimidates, much
 of all our small shadowy
 life!) Without water

 the great rock will stare
 unmagnetized, bare,
 no longer wearing
 rainbows or rain,
 the forgiving air
 and the high fog gone;
 the owls will move on
 and the several
 waterfalls shrivel
 in the steady sun.

spoken = Shelley Lynn Johnson