Whether the rain on Mars was delicate or brutal
whether it was blue or gray
whether it fell on bare rocks
that remained bare
or on fertile ground
that raised large forests of leafing trees
it could not last.
Mars froze eventually
in the same duration
that Venus by contrast
bowed her burning head
in noxious vapors and gas clouds.
On planet Earth meanwhile
after half a billion years
of continuous volcano-havoc
earthquakes and lightning strikes
vapor stored in the atmosphere
eventually began falling.
It soothed the fires.
When the fires died
it fell silently on the first outcrops of moss.
On the tender grass with a sizzle.
With more strenuous drumming
on the resilient fronds of ferns.
It became an orchestra of millions
across the luxurious expanse of the tree canopy.
Then the sun wiped its forehead
with long filmy fingers
and beamed afresh.
It worked through to creatures
flourishing beneath the canopy
and persuaded them to
interrupt their work
of scouring on all fours
for delectable roots and berries.
In the clarified light
they stared at their hands.
They saw the wrinkled fingertips
that gave them a firm grip
on slippery branches and vines
gradually smooth and soften.
They rose in amazement
onto their hind legs
and crept from shelter
across the dazzling savannah.
After a summer of twelve thousand years
after the interruptions of ice
after one particular inundation
and the shadow of an ark
as they scooted over hills and valleys
after the blaze of one civilization
after the destruction of several experiments
with law and order
after the extinction
of many beautiful languages
rain by and large
found its place in the scheme of things.
It began to defeat its purpose
on the private sky of umbrellas.
It babbled through long green fields
and melted into the seams of poetry.
It larked in the puddle of its many names.
Cobblers and chair legs and pipe stems.
Frogs and jugs and beards.
Cats and dogs.
Although they are shaped like a parachute
thanks to the air pressure beneath them
raindrops explode on landing.
Then the sun bears down again
fitting his monocle into his eye.
The glass flashes and burns.
The rain sweats
and evaporates into the ocean of its air.
The ocean continues on its way
continually overflowing here and there
in quick little splashes
or reckless floods and drenching.
It is delicate or brutal.
It is blue sometimes and sometimes gray.
Sometimes it falls on bare rocks
at others it raises
large forests of leafing trees.