Desert Rain

entry picture


grey joggers and a shabby top.

Pale faced with hair the colour of

caramel. What pose was this body

before being suddenly woken?

His thin frame is still pushing through.

Shivering; the hairs on his arms 

anticipating the alarm of what is to come.


‘Sit down’, I said,

solemnly pointing with my head.

‘Your Mum needs to tell you something.

Best prepare yourself for bad news’.

His right leg jiggled, he rubbed his eyes.


This summer of suicides.

This disposable generation,

buried with their phones.

My despondency is the colour of

that border: grey and yet blue.

My compassion is buried too.

I need to celebrate the flaws of us all.

That corn yellow pushing through.


Mum picked up. A smoker’s voice:

‘Yes, put him on’.

Her son stood to take the call.

‘Ma’, he mumbled,

his body turning to the wall.


Seconds later, he let out a sob

and one large tear hit the painted floor.

Silently, the officer and I, notice each other,

noticing this wetness. And

arrows of tenderness breakthrough

our well defended ramparts.


How I long for desert rain.

The release of decades of dry refrain,

the shameless white vertical beam

of unbridled emotion. But I settle,

for sighing at the fragility of this scene.


‘Jesus wept’: the defence of sarcasm

from one overwhelmed with

so many men, who are still children.

I marvel at that shortest verse.

That humanity pushing through.

The close comfort of desert rain.


This poem refers and responds to Agnes Martin's painting 'Desert Rain'

Image courtesy of:

How to make an Angry Stew ►


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Paul Sayer

Wed 22nd Jul 2020 10:31

The drought ends.

Beautifully crafted.

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