Aggressive Regionalism: Texts
2. H. L. Davis, “The Rain Crow”
H. L. Davis, “The Rain Crow” in Proud Riders and Other Poems (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1942).
While women were still talking near this dead friend,
I came out into a field where evergreen berry vines
Grew over an old fence, with rain on their leaves;
And would not have thought of her death, except for a few
Low sheltered berry leaves: I believed the rain
Could not reach them; but it rained on them every one.
So when we thought this friend safest and most kind,
Resetting young plants against winter, it was she
Must come to be a dead body. And to think
That she knew so much, and not that she would die!
Not that most simple thing—for her hands, or her eyes.
Dead. There were prints in the soft spaded ground
Which her knees made when she dug her tender plants.
Above the berry leaves the black garden and all the land
Steamed with rain like a winded horse, appeared strong.
And the rain-crow’s voice, which we took for a sign of rain,
Began like a little bell striking in the leaves.
So I sat in the rain listening to this bird’s voice,
And thought that our friend’s mouth now, its “Dead, I am
Was like the rain-crow sounding during the rain:
As if rain were a thing none of us had ever seen.
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