Friday, October 8, 2010

ONE BIG RAIN: A Poetry Book Review & Some Original Rain Poems

ONE BIG RAIN: Poems for Rainy Days
Compiled by Rita Gray
Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
Charlesbridge, 2010
(Price: $9.95)

One Big Rain is one delightful little anthology of poems about rain that takes readers through the year. Its twenty poems are divided equally among the four seasons. Most of the poems are brief; many paint vivid images with their words.

Gray selected several fine haikus for her book—including this one by Sora:

stars on the pond—
again, a pitter-patter
of winter rain

The illustration that accompanies the poem is beautiful in its quiet simplicity.

In One Big Rain, Gray includes works by well-known poets like Lilian Moore, Eve Merriam, Robert Frost, and Carl Sandburg—as well as works by poets whose names may not be familiar to many readers( Dixie Willson and Maud E. Uschold). The book also contains two poems translated from other languages (Norwegian and Spanish): Rain by Sigbjorn and The Sower by R. Olivares Figueroa. One of the things I like best about the One Big Rain is finding a few of my favorite weather poems that I haven’t read in anthologies in a long time.
One of those “favorite” poems is Eve Merriam’s Summer Rain. Here’s an excerpt from it:

A tickle, a trickle
A million-dot freckle
Speckles the spotted rain.

Like a cinnamon
Smells the rainingest rain.

And here’s an excerpt from another “favorite”— Lilian Moore’s Weather Report:

Ice-bearing trees,
a glass

A noonwind will
harvesting the brittle crop,

Children’s poetry doesn’t get much better than that!

Ryan O’Rourke’s stylistic art—done mostly in muted shades of brown, gray, black, and green—
is a fine and unassuming complement to this compilation of poems about rain.

Click here to download a poster of the One Big Rain illustration shown above.


Reading One Big Rain inspired me to go looking through my manuscripts and previous Wild Rose Reader posts for poems that I had written about rain. Here’s what I found:

Rain Poems by Elaine Magliaro


Polka dot sidewalks.
Freckle windowpanes.
Roll off rooftops and gurgle down gutter spouts.
Patter around a porch in silver slippers.
Dimple a quiet pond.
Tickle tulips and glisten the grass.
Tiptoe over silken seas.
Look for a lost rainbow.


In March
a warm spring wind
blew by
coaxing showers
from the sky.
Silver raindrops
hurried down
tempting green up
from the brown.
They woke the sleeping
buds on trees
and tapped on hives
of honeybees.
They washed away
the winter snow
so all the waiting earth
could grow.


Softly, raindrops come to call. Can you
Hear them gently tap-tapping
On the windowpane, on the roof
With an
Even, steady beat…
Repeating the song that April loves to sing?

Summer Rain Poem

I like a quiet summer day
when clouds above are oyster gray
and rain falls softer than a sigh.
I stand out in the melting sky
cool water washing over me.
I’m a pearl all shimmery,
rough shell unhinged and opened wide
letting all the sea inside.

It’s Raining

It’s raining…
Raining all around.
It’s raining puddles
On the ground.
It’s raining
On my booted feet.
It’s raining
Rivers in the street.
It’s raining cats.
It’s raining dogs.
It’s raining ponds
For polliwogs.
It’s raining
Drop by drop by drop…
A billion trillion—
It won’t stop!
It’s raining buckets
From the sky.
Don’t think the earth
Will EVER dry.


I’m in the middle of a puddle…
in the middle…
in a muddle.
The puddle’s much too deep.
It spilled
into my boots.
Now they’re filled
with muddy water
to the brim.
I hope my feet
know how to swim!


I’m stomping in a puddle,
Making drops of water fly.
Splashing them
Splashing them
Splashing them SO high.
I’m sending the raindrops
Back into the sky!

Note: I wrote the following poem about Grace Lin’s Small Graces painting that is pictured below:

Standing on the sidewalk
Listening to raindrops patter
On my polka-dotted umbrella.
The falling sky tap dances above me
in silvery shoes.
I hear the steady beat…
feel the rhythm of the rain.
My yellow-booted feet
Want to waltz me down the street

Sleet tap-dances on
my roof, clicks its icy heels
on my windowpane

Sleet splinters
a winter day, pierces the air
with icy shards

Soft rain falls on
Our maple tree, its leaves bow
To the giving sky


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol’s Corner this week.


jama said...

Thanks for featuring One Big Rain, Elaine. What a sweet cover, and it looks to be a fine anthology. Nice to see a mixture of well and lesser known poets, as well as translations. Love the Moore poem excerpt -- wow.

Nice to see your rain poems, too. I especially like Things to Do if You are Rain, and It's Raining. You play with words with childlike abandon :). Wonderful!

drip drop

Elaine Magliaro said...


It's good to have you back blogging once again. I was happy to see that you'll be a Cybils poetry judge this year.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for all the rain! We need more here -- it's been a very dry fall!!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Mary Lee,

We had a really dry summer--and lots of straw-colored lawns.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I finally read Gray's book today. Good stuff.

Always love seeing your poems, as well.