The Voice of the Rain by Walt Whitman

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,

Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed, and yet the same,

I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin, and make pure and beautify it;

(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d. duly with love returns.)

Summary

The poet asks a question to the soft-falling rain ‘Who are you?’ (assuming the rain as a person). The answer, which the rain gives, is strange to express but it is still translated or explained here. The rain replied ‘I am the poem of the earth’.

The rain says that it is the poem of the earth. It is born in an invisible and intangible form which rises from the water bodies and reaches the infinite sky to change its appearance into clouds of different shapes and sizes. Yet, the rain says, it remains the same in its heart as it was at its birth.

The rain then falls down on the earth as little water droplets which brings respite to us, rejuvenates the earth’s soul and washes away dust and dirt. It gives life to new plants which would have otherwise remained unborn underground the land as mere seeds. Thus, rain continues its journey where it returns to the earth, its place of origin giving it life and making it all the more beautiful and pure.

Walt Whitman feels that the rain is a kind of some song. The song’s birth place is the poet’s heart. Once it is completed, it transfers from one person to other person and one day it returns to all its listeners.

The last lines of the poem are kept in brackets as they do not belong to the conversation between the poet and the rain.

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