The Rain Stick

I love poetry. While I don’t understand much of it, I love the rhythm of the words and verbal energy they evoke. One of my favorites is Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. I am Irish by heritage, so perhaps Heaney’s Irish lyrical themes reach me from a distant past. Here’s one, from his collection of poems entitled The Spirit Level, which brought Heaney, me, and Kindermusik all together at once…if only for a few lines.

"The Rain Stick"

Upend the rain stick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known
To listen for. In a cactus stalk

Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe
Being played by water, you shake it again lightly

And diminuendo runs through all its scales
Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes
A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,

Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;
Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.
Upend the stick again. What happens next

Is undiminished for having happened once,
Twice, ten, a thousand times before.
Who care if all the music that transpires

Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?
You are like a rich man entering heaven
Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.

-Seamus Heaney
The Spirit Level, 1996

-this post was submitted by Michael Dougherty, CEO of Kindermusik International.

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