Archive for Last Year’s Man

The Rain Falls Down

Posted in Music with tags , on June 3, 2012 by telescoper

The rain falls down on last year’s man, 
that’s a jew’s harp on the table, 
that’s a crayon in his hand. 
And the corners of the blueprint are ruined since they rolled 
far past the stems of thumbtacks 
that still throw shadows on the wood. 
And the skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend 
and all the rain falls down amen 
on the works of last year’s man. 

I met a lady, she was playing with her soldiers in the dark 
oh one by one she had to tell them 
that her name was Joan of Arc. 
I was in that army, yes I stayed a little while; 
I want to thank you, Joan of Arc, 
for treating me so well. 
And though I wear a uniform I was not born to fight; 
all these wounded boys you lie beside, 
goodnight, my friends, goodnight. 

I came upon a wedding that old families had contrived; 
Bethlehem the bridegroom, 
Babylon the bride. 
Great Babylon was naked, oh she stood there trembling for me, 
and Bethlehem inflamed us both 
like the shy one at some orgy. 
And when we fell together all our flesh was like a veil 
that I had to draw aside to see 
the serpent eat its tail. 

Some women wait for Jesus, and some women wait for Cain 
so I hang upon my altar 
and I hoist my axe again. 
And I take the one who finds me back to where it all began 
when Jesus was the honeymoon 
and Cain was just the man. 
And we read from pleasant Bibles that are bound in blood and skin 
that the wilderness is gathering 
all its children back again. 

The rain falls down on last year’s man, 
an hour has gone by 
and he has not moved his hand. 
But everything will happen if he only gives the word; 
the lovers will rise up 
and the mountains touch the ground. 
But the skylight is like skin for a drum I’ll never mend 
and all the rain falls down amen 
on the works of last year’s man.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on July 21, 2010 by telescoper

Now that the traditional rainy Cardiff summer has arrived,  and I’ve just watched an old black-and-white movie on DVD, I thought I’d share this, the title poem of a marvellous collection by Don Paterson.

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.

And, while I’m on the theme of rain, why not add this great song by Leonard Cohen?