The poem contains many different examples of imagery. These are compiled to help readers understand a picture of a specific type of love, one that is cleansing and peaceful. The speaker is looking to experience this as a way to balance out the difficulties of everyday life. The poet also speaks to truth and beauty in the lines of ‘The Rain.’
Explore The Rain
‘The Rain’ by Robert Creeley is a beautiful short poem that expresses a speaker’s desire to be loved like rain.
The speaker starts the poem by talking broadly about the past and the ways they’ve experienced relationships. They don’t want things to continue the way they were. Instead, they are looking for something different. They address their lover and asks that they be loved like rain in a way that’s cleaning and comforting. It should balance out the instability of everyday life.
You can read the whole poem here.
All night the sound had
this quiet, persistent rain.
In the first stanza of ‘The Rain,’ the speaker begins by describing the sound of rain and how it had fallen “All night.” Readers will immediately notice the syntax in these lines. It is slightly more complicated, something that gives the poem a poetic sound/feeling. Otherwise, the lines are simple and fairly easy to understand.
Stanzas Two, Three, and Four
What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
In the second stanza, the speaker goes on, asking a question. They ask what they are to themselves that they must be “remembered / insisted upon / so often.” The speaker wants something from love in his life. He wants to be loved like rain.
It’s unclear exactly the experience the speaker is looking for, but they are taking their cues from the natural world and the experience of rain. They’re looking for a love that is cleansing and comforting. They are not looking for something confining.
Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
with a decent happiness.
The final two stanzas bring the poem to its true meaning. The speaker is interested in a love that is abstract, like rain. It should be evocative of the “semi-lust” and “intentional indifference” of rain. The words “tiredness” and “fatuousness” are unusual to associate with the experience, likely leading readers to different conclusions.
Structure and Form
‘The Rain’ by Robert Creeley is a six-stanza poem divided into sets of four lines, known as quatrains. The poem does not follow a specific rhyme scheme, but there are a large number of half-rhymes and exact rhymes. For example, “me” is used twice in the fifth stanza. There is a half-rhyme in the first stanza with “again” and “rain” as well as “ease” and “me” in stanza three.
Throughout ‘The Rain,’ the poet makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:
- Alliteration: can be seen when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the bingeing of multiple words. For example,
- Imagery: can be seen when the poet uses particularly interesting descriptions. For example, “of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi- / lust of intentional indifference. / Be wet / with a decent happiness.”
- Enjambment: occurs when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines one and two of the first stanza.
- Caesura: occurs when the poet inserts a pause into the middle of a line of verse. For example, “this quiet, persistent rain.”
The purpose is to explore the nature of the love and the type of love the speaker is looking for. He speaks to his previous lovers and their experience together and then, later more specifically, about someone he cares for.
The speaker is someone who is discussing their interest in a specific type of truthful and peaceful love, one that’s like rain. It is suggestive of the complexities of love and the abstract emotions it entails.
Readers who enjoyed ‘The Rain’ should also consider reading some related poems. For example:
- ‘Rain’ by Kazim Ali – describes a rainstorm and the impact the scene had on one speaker and his perception of the world.
- ‘Rain’ by Edward Thomas – describes the speaker’s relationship with death as he contemplates the future within the trenches of World War I.
- ‘The Voice of Rain’ by Walt Whitman – a lovely, poem in which the speaker describes the nature of rain, poetry, and how they are connected through experience.