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Waiting for the Rain


There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge. — “Red Wind” Raymond Chandler

Out on the great plains the crops parch.
Waiting in the light for the rains to roll in.

Heat lightning.
Ball lightning.
The flameflicker of wet dustwind
Rustles the dry corn sheaves.
The dust rises within the wind.
To trace the inside of the atmosphere,
And then the hands of weather
Forming fists on the far horizon.

Look sharp.
There on the edge of the far field
The lightning strikes,
Strikes up.

Look sharp.
There, from far high tower seen,
Out on the parched plains,
Over the stands of black bamboo,
The state’s preserve of heirloom grasses,
Long gone beyond the wild mustangs,
Ghostly riders behind the rain
Gallop robed with darkness visible.

And then the rose dawn.
And the swirls in day’s far fields
Where dust devils dance,

And then the fall
Of the black shawl of night
Draped on the bare shoulders of the stars.

And then the fading thunder
Rolling downslope into the distances of stone silences.

And then, sweeping into the West
Into the blue, into the faded black,
Beyond the hills of haze,on the back of some immense angel,

And sheathed in the full armor of God,
The people ride in pursuit of a dream they never had.

Alert the Authorities!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mikey NTH August 8, 2017, 10:20 AM

    Red Wind is my favorite Raymond Chandler story.

  • Leslie August 8, 2017, 1:16 PM

    Love this.

  • Howard Nelson August 8, 2017, 4:16 PM

    The rain is coming, with wind.
    Abandon hope, keep your faith.
    For this time there is no ark.

  • Snakepit Kansas August 9, 2017, 6:30 PM

    Very nice compilation of weather. Much of that looks like a light wind here in Kansas. My wife and I love to watch the storms roll in from the deck, which can be seen from miles away since it is so flat. The sunsets here are often so beautiful that I will waste inadequate words, trying to describe them.