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Cantata for Rain

1. Recitative

There are places

on south washed islands

where mist beats into rock-drip,

leaf-glisten-dribble, stream-splash

two hundred dawns of every three


2. Aria

Here across the unquenched ocean

dryness prevails, sand drifts in empty reservoirs

cow tracks walk over river beds

skulls bleach under trees where only

a handful of temperature is needed

to turn memory of brush into forest fire


3. Sanctus

This year like every other, we pray for rain



And now, October barely buried, our answer comes—

a sea of darkness overcomes from north

and with a clap of thunder, flash of revelation

our world turns into a beating symphony of rain



Over the holy city skies open in fierce tattoo

and like a biblical prophecy, the wrath of storm descends



The intersection of King George and Ben Yehudah

becomes an instant confluence of two rushing rivers,

pedestrians dressed in summer clothing attempt like waterlogged

rats to ford the green intermezzo in traffic light ticks



I crouch beside a newsstand under a jutting overhang,

yesterday’s drought history as a burst prediction,

watch two schoolgirls clinging to their skin and satchels

splash their way across the swirling torrent between the clicks


Giggling they reach the pavement to imagined safety as

unannounced the number 19 bus comes roaring down the aisle

and a wall of water rises like a cobra, lashes down at us,

drenched we laugh together into soggy newspapers


The Sea of Galilee rose four centimeters yesterday, proclaim the papers

another 104 days like this, it will be full once more



A  little old lady waits for the traffic light to change

scuttles across the river — all she wants is to get home

change into some dry clothes

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© Johnmichael Simon



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