Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis Poem by Lamont Palmer

Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis

Rating: 4.4

'The world is myself; life is myself'. - Wallace Stevens

The gray has delivered a calm emptiness,
over subdued thinkers and lonely movers,
who look through windows and the windowless.
It is like old men relinquishing ornery youth,
relinquishing the spirit of the hipster years,
and within this approaching, full downpour,
nothing is as fresh as hibernation
in the warmth of things or in summer's arms,
where the heat can be like a bold lover,
till it pulls back and cools again,
vastly different from days of detachment.
The house is the house of meditation, the walls
are bookends of plaster. Enclosed is enclosed;
if not a victim of morose paint,
then one can be victimized by the staid hue itself.

Life's never so insular as on a day of rain:
wet as leaves, wet as steeples, wet as farms, wet as the earth
that desires dryness; life is never as drenched
as its reception, or its beginning, regardless
of the scattered cities it thrives in.
There is more to privacy than the silent walls.

Sitting alone, is thinking of the meaning of alone
and the meaning of my desire to be where
the world may be; where they may exist, and to
walk along the center of the Socratic road,
where few glances are exchanged on crowded
streets, too few penetrating words to touch
the bushes between seasons of death and life,
raising an ire to match biblical seasons:
toads from the sky onto unfortunate heads.
It is an examination of our lives, finding the sense
of need, the lifelong acceptance of examination,
the couch of the mind where we might lay,
the church of the vital and lasting internals.
I was never quite deterred by rejection,
(rotund child, rotund mind, rotund loneliness)
preferring to charge ahead through the country trees,
in kicked up dust and kicked up passion;
an affable one, of an affable faith,
harboring the bull's penchant for charging:
such quasi-competition when romance flows.
I had the mind of yearning as a boy,
the eyes of precocious youth, barely controlled,
looking at a seedy world, an all too human glare,
where the glare became the heat of the image,
images that my mother did not want me to know,
images to which my father was indifferent,
yet there he was, a man who knew the source
and vision of men, locked into his stern eyes.
It was a middleclass ease: a teen, on my lecherous own,
creating in laboratory bedrooms,
the secrets of boyish experiments,
the curious guests in the nights, shaking
with groping, trembling with newness,
restless with readings of Miss Hollander;
(Xaviera! You were the angel to rid me of fear)
and magazines and hot whispers,
opening, like plants, my tentative eyes.
Exploration: the pinnacle of summer:
(certainly the summer of 77: D.T., I'll never tell.)
afternoons and evenings of summer purging;
the Hefner impression lodged in the hopeful boy.
What formula is that? vacillation
between isolation and the urgent yearning?
between the young bedroom of reflection
and the airiness of childlike action?
It is a spirit rending dichotomy!
The days seemed more settled than the nights.

Endings set in. Heads now turned more by fiction than flesh,
though flesh remains a durable, elusive dream,
waking and sleeping, taunting the eyes,

I can look into the gray-stained nucleus of rain,
and notice an isolation,
the introvert's tent, and cast myself, longingly,

into the arms of precipitation (a precipitous thing?)
of an approaching summer, and its frequent,
sad, rooftop sounds. To withdraw, often, is to emerge.

This is middle-of-the-road Maryland,
the middle of good lawns, good hands and the
strange trek toward an external goodness,

where moody faces and eyes grew in the silence.
This is the conservatism of isolation,
a burgeoning opening hermetically sealed,
as hermits mouths are sealed,

and I rest on my memories, coupled with my good
and sometimes prurient intentions,

waiting on the rain which has yet to come,
but sends its taste ahead of its sensual self.

Linda Gantt 09 April 2016

Rain encourages isolation; isolation fosters self-analysis. The self within the lines of this poem can be seen, heard, and- most strongly- felt. Indeed powerful imagery- making one want to return for a third or fourth reading. Definitely one of my favorite poems!

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William F. Dougherty 06 November 2011

'The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm' when, after prolonged illness and a hankering for the company of men made out of words, I chanced the inauspicious title and envied the adroit harmonies of the rain-educed introspection and retrospection orchestrated by Monsieur Palmer. Like Stevens, he can not only wrinkle water across the face of the mind's pond but also sustain feats of introversion in a mode notoriously susceptible to Wordsworthian sprawl or Stevensian bravado and solipsism. Anaphora here, apposition there-a mellowed rage for order-a meditative clavichord.

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Shadow Girl 15 June 2011

Beautiful words - your poetry continues to amaze me. SG

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Lamont Palmer 11 June 2011

Thanks for the comment, Shep. I miss your wisdom and wit. -LP Date & Time: 6/5/2005 5: 13: 00 AM Remove this comment Poem: 1286921 - 1 -Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis Member: Michael Shepherd Comment: I agree entirely with Andrew. Curiously, I felt that TSEliot would admire this for its confessional subsumed in the detached observation by the eye of wisdom. And I understand now what you mean by 'music', Lamont - here,4-7 stresses in a line, with iambics as default foot. And the similes and metaphors arise naturally and colour the drawing, so to speak. A model of a mature poem, if I may say so...

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Lamont Palmer 13 May 2011

Thanks for the words, Andy. -LP Date & Time: 6/4/2005 11: 07: 00 PM Remove this comment Poem: 1286921 - 1 -Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis Member: Andrew Konisberg Comment: The best poem that I have read today. I am never shy of giving a '10' because I appreciate wildly differing styles. Despite your 'prescriptivism' (ala Thomas Wentworth Higginson) in forum discussion, I could not help but admire the sheer artistry of this composition. I will go as far as to say that this is one of the very best pieces I have ever read on this site, and there are a few truly gifted people here. I am not one of them, but this poem's construction is immaculate. Adroitly assembled. Refreshing language and imagery. A '10' with a golden star (I've only ever given a 'golden star' twice, in 4 months) . Brilliant.

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