Friday, January 21, 2011

Robert Cording's "On a Drop of Rain"

Walking with Ruskin: Poems (Notable Voices)
Thanks to Poetry Daily ( for featuring today a poem by Robert Cording, whose mentoring gave me the courage to continue to write. He used to go into reverie about a year in graduate school when all he did was read John Ruskin (who appears in his recent book, Walking With Ruskin). Thirty-five years later, Cording is still walking with Ruskin. In some sense, twenty years after his tutelate, I'm still walking with Cording.

"On a Drop of Rain"

Late in the day, the rain abating,
I force myself outside for my daily walk.
I do not go far. Everything is doused
and diamonded with water. Even the stones
seem polished. At each bud of every scrub
roadside tree, and even on the thorns
of wild roses, hangs a drop of rain—
as if someone had hoisted chandeliers
to light the road from end to end.

I think of Marvell, how he found a story
one morning shining with meaning
in a drop of dew. A figure for the soul,
Marvell's dewdrop contained the whole
sky and, mindful of its native home,
came and went, scarcely touching
the earthly flower on which it floated,
its one aspiration the sunny exhalation
of water into air. It never seemed to feel

death's shiver. Here, it's nearly evening,
the air still rheumy enough to silver
the weedy edge of the road where beer cans
find their rest. My raindrops—tense, trembling—
really do seem to cling for dear life,
a story, I'm sad to say, of my all too earthly
wish to hang around forever in my body.
No chance, the wind says, extinguishing
with every breeze, one drop after another.

Robert Cording

Walking with Ruskin CavanKerry Press

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