Happy Chanukah from the Poetry Crisis Line!
Read the original here.
Crow’s dialogue based on “Examination at the Womb Door” in Crow by Ted Hughes. [and yeah, in the original he’s the one answering the questions, but that would result in a caller who just says “Death. Death. Death.” most of the time.]
COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
COUNSELOR: I see. Would you like to elaborate?
CALLER: midnight rain,
COUNSELOR: Uh-huh. Anything else?
CALLER: nothing but the wild rain
COUNSELOR: I see. And how is the rain a problem? Is it falling on your hair, or—
CALLER: On this bleak hut,
COUNSELOR: Now we’re getting somewhere.
CALLER: and solitude,
COUNSELOR: Good, and what else?
CALLER: and me
COUNSELOR: Don’t blame yourself, sir. You’re not the problem.
CALLER: Remembering again that I shall die
COUNSELOR: Way to bury the lede, dude.
CALLER: And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks / For washing me cleaner than I have been / Since I was born into solitude.
COUNSELOR: I see. Can you give the rain your thanks now?
CALLER: Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
COUNSELOR: Or your blessing.
CALLER: But here I pray that none whom once I loved / Is dying tonight
CALLER: or lying still awake
COUNSELOR: Also thoughtful—but if I had to choose, I’d pick that one.
CALLER: Solitary, listening to the rain,
COUNSELOR: Still a better deal.
CALLER: Either in pain or thus in sympathy
COUNSELOR: No contest.
CALLER: Helpless among the living and the dead,
COUNSELOR: Now you’re getting warmer.
CALLER: Like a cold water
COUNSELOR: Or not.
CALLER: among broken reeds,
COUNSELOR: That could make it hard to play clarinet.
CALLER: Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
COUNSELOR: Or saxophone. Have you tried wetting them before you play, or—sorry, I’m getting off topic. Is there anyone else you want to bless?
CALLER: Like me
COUNSELOR: If you feel you need it. I was thinking more like…
CALLER: who have no love which this wild rain / Has not dissolved except the love of death,
COUNSELOR: … I don’t know…
CALLER: If love it be towards what is perfect and / Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.
COUNSELOR: … the rains down in Africa?
based on the poem “Rain” by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)