Rain by Bronwen Griffiths
'The rain drummed loud on the roof tiles and it was dark that morning. I sat listening to the tyres on the wet road. I sat waiting for the rain to ease and for the light to come on in the house. While I waited I wiggled my bare toes and I didn’t think about much, only the fact that the leaves had begun to turn, that summer was well and truly gone for this year. Sometimes I glanced at my watch but the minute hand appeared to have stuck so I stopped checking it and concentrated on the movement of the leaves behind the window and the pattering of the rain, now insistent, now soft - a rain of pauses, arpeggios and adagios. Once in while there was a slight metallic ring to the rain, like a triangle or a zill, and the movement of the traffic outside lent the whole a solid bass note and that’s how it was, that wet, dark morning, waiting for the light to come on.'
Those are my words, written during a change in the season. But as I write now, it is raining – one of those downpours that happens on a summer day without wind when the rain comes straight down. It’s been a disappointing summer so far -rain-filled, soggy, muddy. But after last year’s dry summer the greenery is extraordinary and the orchids in the meadow, spires of lavender, pink and purple, have been magnificent.
Rain appears in literature across the world. Why would it not? Without rain we cannot survive. But rain in literature is often a metaphor for something else. It’s not like a storm, huge and dramatic, but a slow pattering, slowly building. It’s hard not to fall into cliché when writing about the weather – a storm for drama, rain for melancholy, sunshine for happiness – but the truth is – we are affected by the weather.Against Rain - words and photo by the author
In Summerwater by Sarah Moss the rain is one of the main characters in the story. The novel begins with rain. Although there’s no distance between cloud and land, nowhere for the rain to fall, it is raining…’ The rain never ceases at the Scottish campsite where the action of the novel takes place and it is still raining at the end of the novel when a terrible event takes place which shatters everything.
There is rain in Shakespeare, in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, in Dickens, in Thomas Hardy – here in Far From the Madding Crowd
In The Years by Virginia Woolf she describes the rain she sees in London but at the same time she describes the rain that falls elsewhere. '
There’s drizzle and damp in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall evoking discomfort and reminding us of a world without central heating and modern comforts. In Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea’ water – seawater and rain - are used as a metaphor for the subconscious. The rain is described as ‘straight and silvery, like a punishment of steel rods.’
In Haruki Murakami’s novella South of the Border, West of the Sun Hajime’s childhood sweetheart Shimamoto reappears in his nightclub on a rainy night two decades later—all her appearances in the novel are associated with rain—and the story ends with the now married man thinking about the rain – both past, present and future.
Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion begins amid a pouring rain but other happier events take place in the sunshine. The weather here is a mark of the relationship between them.
In Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’ the rain is compared to buckshot.
Heavy rain, soft rain, gentle rain, hard rain. A hard rain’s gonna fall. Rain can stand in for state of a relationship, for impending doom or mere melancholy or, as in Ted Hughes poem Rain, it is just rain.
'Rain. Floods. Frost. And after frost, rain. Dull roof-drumming. Wraith-rain pulsing across purple-bare woods Like light across heaved water. Sleet in it. And the poor fields, miserable tents of their hedges. Mist-rain off-world. Hills wallowing In and out of a grey or silvery dissolution. A farm gleaming, Then all dull in the near drumming. At field-corners Brown water backing and briming in grass. Toads hop across rain-hammered roads. Every mutilated leaf there Looks like a frog or rained-out mouse.'
Bronwen Griffiths is the author of two published novels and two published collections of flash fiction. Her flash fiction has been widely published both on-line and in a number print anthologies. You can read her work on her website which she needs to update