Poem – Elizabeth Smither

Singing in the rain


I am caught at the bus stop like Gene Kelly
only I have an umbrella. Only two days
before I said to someone we miss
all those good experiences: getting drenched

and here is my chance. Heavier and heavier.
The hem of my coat, my neck, my feet
inside my shoes: I stand on tiptoe to escape
the overflow. My skirt looks like Eliza Bennet’s

crossing half of Hertfordshire. Pneumonia at least.
And then I remember hearing on the radio
it’s Richard Rodger’s anniversary and begin
to hum the commemorative song they played

Younger than springtime, low and sweet
and somehow insistent now it seems
the heavens have personally opened to test
if getting wet really was my heart’s desire.

No one else is near. I stay for half an hour beside
the bus stop sign. The bus has broken down.
Gene Kelly splashes and kicks his feet while I
go on humming: Heaven and earth are you to me.


Elizabeth Smither

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