Life Breath of Half the World
India’s monsoon rains have covered the entire country a month ahead of schedule,
brightening the prospects for a
bumper output of summer-sown crops such as rice, oilseeds and
cotton in one of the world’s leading producers.
During the year I spent following the monsoon in a dozen countries, I learned to see it as a critically important event,
and not the disaster it had first seemed to my Western eyes.
For half the world’s people, good monsoon s mean life and prosperity.
Bad monsoons mean famine and death.
Farmers experience the monsoon as an almost religious experience
as they watch their fields come backto life after being parched for half the year.
For months there is no rain, and then there is too much.
Half the world’s people survive at the whim of the monsoon.
Rain is grace;
Rain is the sky descending to the earth …
– John Updike
Only He shakes the heavens and from its treasures takes out the winds.
He joins the waters and the clouds and produces the rain.
He does all those things.
– Michael Servetus (1511-1553)
Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer
Fizzy, frothy, fickle rain
Shirley Geok-lin Lim
The air is wet, soaks
into mattresses, and curls
In apparitions of smoke,
Like fat white slugs furled
Among the timber
Or silver fish tunnelling
The damp linen covers
Of schoolbooks, or walking
Quietly like centipedes,
The air walking everywhere
On its hundred feet
Is filled with the glare
Of tropical water.
Again we are taken over
By clouds and rolling darkness.
Small snails appear
Clashing their timid horns
Among the morning glory
Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me
spoke to me
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!