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"This Rain" - new poem

Posted June 27, 2013

Joni recited a new poem at the Luminato festival last week. The poem is based on the writings of Emily Carr and is part of one of Carr's journals. Thanks to Catherine McKay (with assistance from Vincenzo Mancini) for the transcription.

Is this the wettest place on earth?
My little fire is sputtering.
Oh, now my hot water bottle's gone and burst,
And I'm mean mad about it
And I'm muttering
Soggy biscuits!
Boggy sheets!
The bucket brimming where the canvas leaks.
I smack my dogs for muddy feet.
Oh, this rain, this rain
will not retreat.

That painting I made yesterday -
Who would want to look at it?
It's just a mess!
The greens and greys.
I threw a stupid book at it.
I'd hoped to capture tree-souls in paint.
But hope! That's for idiots and saints.
My trees are incomplete.
Oh, this rain, this rain will not retreat

I wish I had a real good pal,
Someone I could stand to listen to.
I don't care - a guy, a gal,
Just someone who could stand me too.
If I was nicer, less astute,
Less compelled to spew the truth...
For truth is seldom soft and sweet,
And this rain, this rain, this relentless rain
This rain, this rain
Will not retreat.

All big cities make me sick,
Except New York, I don't know why.
Big buildings stretching up brick by brick.
Like my cedar groves, they scrape that sky.
It doesn't rain like this back there.
Oh, it rains enough, just enough to wash the air
and sweep a little litter off the street.
But THIS rain, oh,
This rain will not retreat

I wrote this poem for Emily Carr,
Though she's been dead for quite some time.
Most of these words are hers,
But some are mine.
I made them rhyme.

This rain,
This rain,
Oh, this nasty rain
This rain, this rain.

© Joni Mitchell