There Will Come Soft Rains

 

 

A series of illustrations loosely based on the poem of the same name by Sara Teasedale.

 

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.



“Swallows Circling With Their Shimmering Sound”

Graphite on cotton paper. 11″x11″

There I was, trudging up a trail along the barren spine of a stormy mountain. Climbing until I reached the cloud-shrouded crest, I took a seat on a damp rock to rest my legs. Overwhelmed by the demands of daily life, I’d escaped to find solace on a lonesome peak for the day, longing to shed the calamitous roar of life and submit to a quieter calm.

A gentle rain prickled my cheeks, blurring the barrier between body and land. I sat helplessly exposed to the emptiness around me, my mind stuck ruminating on troubles leftover from the life I’d left thousands of feet below. 

Up on that high and lonesome summit, a flash of movement broke my trance:

Swallows. Swallows, unmistakable with their tapered wings and distinctively forked tails. One then two then dozens of quick-moving shapes darting through glittering rain drops, circling my restless head.

This troupe of small bodied birds spiraled in one feathered, frenzied vortex of synchronized threads. With each swoop, pivot, and twirl of their dramatic aerial dance, the birds unwittingly stitched the pieces of my world-weary heart into something whole again. 

The longer I stood in silence, the louder the shimmering sounds of swallows and rain sang around me, each note weaving my body back into the intricate folds of life’s boundless tapestry.

“Frogs In Their Pools Singing At Night (War Time)”

Graphite on cotton paper. 11″x11″

Two of the world’s last remaining Middle East tree frogs sit in one of the few shallow pools dotting Palestine’s arid landscape.

They shelter beneath an olive branch severed from its mother tree, on which small pale flowers still attempt to bloom.

From the quiet of their moonless oasis, these endangered frogs hunt and mate and sing as their kin always have, unware of the war raging around them.

Reverberating croaks echo the booming bombs that send ripples through the water’s surface. Drops of springtime rain freefall from the sooty sky, bouncing off leaves hanging heavy with ash and grief. The duet of rain and frogsong nearly drown the searing screams ripping through this ravaged night.

Despite an uncertain future, ancient instinct compels the frogs to come together beneath the olive branch. Cradled by a desert dark they frantically mate, watering the shriveled roots of their own mother tree in a desperate amplectic embrace.

From the quiet of this moonless oasis, a new generation will hunt and mate and sing as their kin always have, unaware of the war raging around them.

Tadpoles emerge from frothy eggs in dutiful succession, bearing proverbial torches of flowering olive branches, shapeshifting through their fragile lives with ardent hearts that hum with life’s ancestral hymn.

A hymn,
An ode,
Or perhaps an unwitting plea,
For peace.

 

“Not One Would Mind, Neither Bird Nor Tree, If Mankind Perished Utterly”

Graphite on cotton paper. 11″x11″

The bubbling song of a Pacific Wren is one of the most hopeful songs my body knows.

Pacific Wrens commonly reside in soggy forests, spending their lives darting between thickets of unfurling ferns and spongy mosses. Small and sweet, these birds have one of the most complex trills in the entire bird world, and one that, to my ears, mimics the trickling sound of falling rain.

The wren belts out her carefree carol, heedless of man or civilization or money or wars. She finds comfort in the dense patches of sorrel, nestling beneath arching ferns to dry her drenched feathers.

She moves through the undergrowth seeking her next meal, blissfully unaware of whether or not she’ll actually find one.

A still life of wings and woods and waterdrops, she exists only in this moment.

For her, that is reason enough to sing.

 

“Spring Herself, When She Woke At Dawn, Would Scarcely Know That We Were Gone”

Graphite on cotton paper. 11″x11″