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Elizabeth Bishop (Элизабет Бишоп)

Song for the Rainy Season

Hidden, oh hidden 
in the high fog 
the house we live in, 
beneath the magnetic rock, 
rain-, rainbow-ridden, 
where blood-black 
bromelias, lichens, 
owls, and the lint 
of the waterfalls cling, 
familiar, unbidden. 

In a dim age 
of water 
the brook sings loud 
from a rib cage 
of giant fern; vapor 
climbs up the thick growth 
effortlessly, turns back, 
holding them both, 
house and rock, 
in a private cloud. 

At night, on the roof, 
blind drops crawl 
and the ordinary brown 
owl gives us proof 
he can count: 
five times--always five-- 
he stamps and takes off 
after the fat frogs that, 
shrilling for love, 
clamber and mount. 

House, open house 
to the white dew 
and the milk-white sunrise 
kind to the eyes, 
to membership 
of silver fish, mouse, 
big moths; with a wall 
for the mildew’s 
ignorant map; 

darkened and tarnished 
by the warm touch 
of the warm breath, 
maculate, cherished; 
rejoice! For a later 
era will differ. 
(O difference that kills 
or intimidates, much 
of all our small shadowy 
life!) Without water 

the great rock will stare 
unmagnetized, bare, 
no longer wearing 
rainbows or rain, 
the forgiving air 
and the high fog gone; 
the owls will move on 
and the several 
waterfalls shrivel 
in the steady sun.

Elizabeth Bishop's other poems:
  1. Visits to St. Elizabeths
  2. The Man-Moth
  3. Strayed Crab
  4. Argument
  5. Lines Written in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

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