A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying tonight or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.
Philip Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) was a British poet, essayist, and novelist. He is commonly considered a war poet although few of his poems deal directly with his war experiences, and his career in poetry came only after he had already been a successful writer and literary critic. In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army to fight in the First World War and was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after he arrived in France. Thought of as a minor poet for decades, his work has found new readers in the 21st century, and he is now considered by many critics to be one of England’s most important poets. His authentic voice, varied diction, and passion for natural beauty had an important influence on the work of W.H. Auden, Ted Hughes, and most profoundly, his friend Robert Frost.