Saturday, April 03, 2010

Still Falls the Rain

Easter Saturday; a broadcast of Easter music and readings from the chapel of King's College, Cambridge, which included this poem, read powerfully by a woman undergraduate. It is by Edith Sitwell, who wrote it during the bombing of London in 1940.

Still Falls The Rain

Still falls the Rain
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss -
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet
On the Tomb.

Still falls the Rain
In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the starved man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us,
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain
Still falls the blood from the starved man's wounded side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds, those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart; the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear,
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh, the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain
Then - 'O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune?'
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the brow we nailed upon the tree
Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world, dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain:
"Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my blood, for thee.

{ The quotation in the penultimate stanza is from Marlowe's play. In the final act Doctor Faustus is waiting terrified for Mephistopheles, coming to claim his due from the Faustian pact. ]

No comments: