Rain Like a Stranger and Lightning Like a Tiger

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I grew up in Desert Hot Springs; I repeat the word desert to emphasize how little I know about rain. Rain was a stranger  most of my childhood. I wore cowboy boots and a blue down vest to keep me warm. We had wind (boy did we have wind!), but I didn’t own an umbrella until I went away for university. Instead of raincoats, at the rare appearance of rain, my sister and I donned black plastic garbage bags.

I spend part of most summers as a stranger in a city in southern Mexico where it rains as reliably as high tide. It is undeniably more insistent on Mondays and Wednesdays when I have to travel some distance to teach classes on an outdoor patio in one of the smallest towns on the planet.

It rains its warning against English or English teachers who failed to pack a tarp or at least a couple of garbage bags.

Summer Rain

What could be lovelier than to hear the summer rain
Cutting across the heat, as scythes cutting across grain?
Falling upon the steaming roof with sweet uproar,
Tapping and rapping wildly at the door?
No, do not lift the latch, but through the pane
We’ll stand and watch the circus pageant
Of the rain,
And see the lightning, like a tiger, striped and dread,
And hear the thunder cross the shaken sky
With elephant tread.

– Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893-1986).

  • Write a memory about rain featuring several metaphors.
  • OR write a poem with an extended metaphor about the rain. Below is another Coatsworth piece:


Rain Poem

The rain was like a little mouse,
Quiet, small, and gray,
It pattered all around the house
And then it went away.
It did not come, I understand,
Indoors at all, until,
It found an open window and
Left tracks across the sill.

– Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893-1986).

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