Edward Thomas calls the Poetry Crisis Line

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

COUNSELOR: Understandable

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


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)