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April is National Poetry Month! Spring is rolling in! Birds are chirping! Thunder rolls for April showers. Sometimes there is a crazy blizzard. On other days there is wind. Poetry can cover all of these natural – and unnatural – weather patterns. From praise to condemnation, from long to short verse, poets approach all kinds of weather in their works. Find pictures and imagination in this list of weather poems.
“In April” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Let’s start with a poem about April. Rilke’s poem is about what to expect from an April poem. It is located in the forest and recognizes various natural wonders throughout the day. The scenes are complicated and detailed. In the middle stanza the speaker remarks: “After long rainy afternoons an hour / Comes with its golden rays of light and hurls / you at the windows in a brilliant shower.” From one side of the window pane to the other, nature beautifully awakens its way into life.
Further information about Rilke can be found in the book of hours.
“Even The Rain” by Agha Shahid Ali
A ghazal is a form poem. It contains five to fifteen couplets. Each line is roughly the same length and usually a phrase is repeated. In the end, the poet usually gives his own name when the speaker addresses them. That is the form of Ali’s poem, which focuses on the rain. Almost every stanza is self-contained, so most are hit like a raindrop. The poem uses rain as a measure of belief and reality. The speaker says, “What will be enough for a knot of true love? Even the rain? “It continues to explore love, grief, vice and loss.
For more information from Ali, see Call Me Ishmael Tonight.
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“Wind” by Gwendolyn Bennett
Wind is my least preferred weather, FYI. This poem is a hinged poem with two stanzas of approximately the same length. It initially presents the wind as freedom. The speaker says, “The wind was a carefree soul / who broke the chains of the earth.” That sounds incredibly motivating. The second stanza begins with a “but,” which means the poem is about to take a serious turn. Along with freedom, danger can come. In this danger “trees were scarred, their branches broke.” This poem shows the importance of balance.
Bennett did not publish a complete collection of poems, so you can find her work in various literary magazines and websites.
“Female Rain” by Laura Tohe
This poem consists of seven lines full of powerful images. (Tohe wrote the original version in Navajo: “Níłtsą́ Bi’áád.” There are ten lines before the translation and seven lines in English.) The process of precipitation appears as a pregnant woman. The rain is “rain child”. The rain “Danc[es] from the south. “The rain provides“ nourishment / luminescence all around. ”The poem is subtle while also showing the power of motherhood.
For more information on Tohe, see Tseyi / Deep In The Rock.
“North Wind” from Lola Ridge
I’m still not a fan of the wind, but this poem approaches the wind in a different way. The speaker begins: “I love you, dissatisfaction / male wind” and embodies the wind as a lover. The wind is clearly not easy to deal with (the real wind and the metaphorical wind). Nevertheless, the speaker erotically calls to the north wind. The speaker says: “Cover my whole hot body” and “Take me to bare plains and steppes.” The loudspeaker calls for the wind and shows incredible power in this command. Also note that Ridge’s poems were published in the 1920s and 1930s, which means that her voice in the public forum was nervous and unique.
For more information on Ridge, see Sun-Up and Other Poems.
Weather poems span other poems such as the change of seasons, dedications to specific storms, odes to each month, and as metaphors for every human emotion. Visit Book Riot’s extensive poetry archive for more poetry in celebration of the National Poetry Month.