Tuesday, December 15, 2009


by Don Paterson
May 26, 2008

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.

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