Here Comes the Rain Again
Falling on my head like a memory
Hello Weather-Weary Friends!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, you get used to living with the rain. It’s natural that rain would find its way frequently into my poetry comics.
This week instead of new comics, I’m exploring some of the themes and origins in my previously published work. New comics will be here again on Saturday. You can check out the other parts here:
Part 1: We Spotted the Ocean
Part 2: Moon River
Let’s talk about the rain.
the retreating storm
a faint echo of nature’s
I wrote this poem several years after a memorable storm-watching session when my oldest was just starting to learn how to walk. My wife, K, and I sat in an ocean-view hotel room and watched it go from sunny to stormy and back to sunny again in the course of a few hours.
This comic is another one of my earlier ones. I was trying to catch the dynamism of a moving storm. Today, I would take a different approach. But I try to let the past rest and move forward to new poetry comics and projects. (I often fail at letting the past rest.)
pat, pat, pitter pat
pitter pat, pat, pitter pat
the rain speaks in code
This is another experimental haiku where I honed in on a sound instead of describing a scene. You may notice that I reuse a lot of elements in my comics. The books in this comic are the same ones I used in one of the comics I shared again yesterday. The dog in the last frame is Loki, and I use this image of him in several different comics. He doesn’t like letting us take pictures of him, so I don’t have a lot of images to work with.
The practical reason for reusing elements in comics is that it allows for faster production. I also like creating a sense of unity in my comics—showing that all of these moments take place in the same small universe.
stark lightning flashes
concussive thunder crashes
rips me from my dreams
The fun thing about comics is that because they are sequential images, you can show movement and the passage of time with still images. Even after all the years of reading comics, this still strikes me as a kind of witchcraft.
If I can be even more full of myself than usual, I’m especially proud of the second panel in this comic for the way it shows a lightning flash—or at least the way I experience lightning flashes.
we watch precipitation
cold December rain
This comic was created because I was experimenting with making stock art and data visualization aids. I wanted to move away from doing any kind of client work and start doing the kinds of projects that were scalable. Things where I could do work once and get paid multiple times for it.
I started making different thermometers, and that reminded me of a haiku I had recently written—and so instead of making stock art to try and sell, I made a poetry comic.
I really do make these comics because I cannot help myself.
wispy, white clouds flee
voluptuous dark, gray clouds
storm front hits valley
I am just now noticing that my raindrops almost always slant in the same direction in my comics. I’m not sure if that’s a right-handed bias or if there is something else at work. I think I need to try and make some comics with rain falling in the opposite direction. I know I never want the rain to fall straight down because that’s rarely the way rain falls here. It’s always coming at you at an angle.
no two rain clouds share
identical shade of gray tones
change as rain falls
Do most people grow out of looking at clouds and seeing shapes? I never did. I still see stories in the clouds. I love the way each cloud is a unique shape and color.
The first comic in this post, the one about the storm rolling in from the ocean, is only three panels. If you notice, the standard length of a comic strip in the newspaper is four panels. Modern cartoonists now do all kinds of things with panel sizes and shapes. However, I like to keep most of my comics to a four-panel format. This works well with haiku. You may think haiku are only three lines long, and so a three-panel setup makes more sense. But I think haiku really have a fourth line, a silent line. I write four-panel haiku comics to give readers a chance to pause during the poem.
nothing but gray skies
winter here is cold and wet
an endless drizzle
This poetry comic also features more of my attempts at making stock art others could use. Again, instead of being a separate project, these images ended up in a comic.
mottled sky teasing
end to weeks of rain and gray
just a brief respite
These last two poems were written a few weeks apart. As much as I love what the rain brings to Oregon, sometimes the endless sameness of the skies gets to be a bit much.
I love poetry for the way it allows writers and readers to experience the full range of human emotions. Life doesn't always deliver rainbows, sometimes we just get more rain.
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P.S. I will never not love hearing this Eurythmics song:
Today in South West England, it’s snowing in March!