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An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow - Poem by Les Murray

The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There's a fellow crying in Martin Place. They can't stop him.

The traffic in George Street is banked up for half a mile
and drained of motion. The crowds are edgy with talk
and more crowds come hurrying. Many run in the back streets
which minutes ago were busy main streets, pointing:
There's a fellow weeping down there. No one can stop him.

The man we surround, the man no one approaches
simply weeps, and does not cover it, weeps
not like a child, not like the wind, like a man
and does not declaim it, nor beat his breast, nor even
sob very loudly - yet the dignity of his weeping

holds us back from his space, the hollow he makes about him
in the midday light, in his pentagram of sorrow,
and uniforms back in the crowd who tried to seize him
stare out at him, and feel, with amazement, their minds
longing for tears as children for a rainbow.

Some will say, in the years to come, a halo
or force stood around him. There is no such thing.
Some will say they were shocked and would have stopped him
but they will not have been there. The fiercest manhood,
the toughest reserve, the slickest wit amongst us

trembles with silence, and burns with unexpected
judgements of peace. Some in the concourse scream
who thought themselves happy. Only the smallest children
and such as look out of Paradise come near him
and sit at his feet, with dogs and dusty pigeons.

Ridiculous, says a man near me, and stops
his mouth with his hands, as if it uttered vomit -
and I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand
and shake as she receives the gift of weeping;
as many as follow her also receive it

and many weep for sheer acceptance, and more
refuse to weep for fear of all acceptance,
but the weeping man, like the earth, requires nothing,
the man who weeps ignores us, and cries out
of his writhen face and ordinary body

not words, but grief, not messages, but sorrow,
hard as the earth, sheer, present as the sea -
and when he stops, he simply walks between us
mopping his face with the dignity of one
man who has wept, and now has finished weeping.

Evading believers, he hurries off down Pitt Street.

Comments about An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow by Les Murray

  • Gold Star - 14,440 Points Seema Jayaraman (11/18/2015 2:58:00 AM)

    The ability to weep.. the strongest man too once he weeps thus his sorrow.. with calm and resolution restored can get back to his mundane chores.. lovely write.. thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 426,735 Points Edward Kofi Louis (11/18/2015 12:52:00 AM)

    'They can't stop him'. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,249 Points Briony Nicholls (7/9/2015 10:14:00 AM)

    God bless Les Murray for his contribution to humanity! (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »

Poems About Rainbow

  1. 1. An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow , Les Murray
  2. 2. The Rainbow Never Tells Me , Emily Dickinson
  3. 3. Sing Me A Rainbow , Shel Silverstein
  4. 4. On This Long Storm The Rainbow Rose , Emily Dickinson
  5. 5. Children Of The Rainbow (Children) , C.J. Heck
  6. 6. Over The Rainbow , Sulaiman Mohd Yusof
  7. 7. The Rainbow (Children) , C.J. Heck
  8. 8. The Place Where The Rainbow Ends , Paul Laurence Dunbar
  9. 9. Claiming The Rainbow , Mary Havran
  10. 10. Chasing Rainbow , Meggie Gultiano
  11. 11. The Rainbow , James Thomson
  12. 12. Some Rainbow—coming From The Fair! , Emily Dickinson
  13. 13. Rainbow, Rainbow , Sylvia Chidi
  14. 14. At The End Of The Rainbow , Francis Duggan
  15. 15. The Rainbow , Felicia Dorothea Hemans
  16. 16. The Rainbow Of Promise , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  17. 17. Rainbow , Reshma Ramesh
  18. 18. My Rainbow Garden , Marilyn Lott
  19. 19. The Rainbow , Paula Glynn
  20. 20. Rainbow On A Morning , Mark R Slaughter
  21. 21. Rainbow Walking , Lonnie Hicks
  22. 22. A Rainbow Is... , Loyd C. Taylor, Sr.
  23. 23. Rainbow Lorikeets , Francis Duggan
  24. 24. I Hold The Rainbow In My Hands , Aldo Kraas
  25. 25. At The End Of The Rainbow , David Harris
  26. 26. My Rainbow-1 , Scarlet .....
  27. 27. Rainbow In Motion Haiku , Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel ..
  28. 28. Rainbow Hues , Seema Chowdhury
  29. 29. Somewhere Where There's A Rainbow , Peter S. Quinn
  30. 30. Three Palinodias - 03 Rain And Rainbow , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  31. 31. To The Rainbow , Thomas Campbell
  32. 32. Rainbow Silhouette , Meggie Gultiano
  33. 33. Rainbow Lavender Tale , Maria Sudibyo
  34. 34. To The Rainbow , Joanna Baillie
  35. 35. The Rainbow , Charles Lamb
  36. 36. Dance A Multi-Coloured Dance Of Rainbow , Chris G. Vaillancourt
  37. 37. Rainbow - Dancing With The Wind , TaMaRa HaNaRiNg ,(((( PaLeST ..
  38. 38. *eternal Resting Rainbow , Bonnie Collins
  39. 39. #374 Haiku A Rainbow Spills , Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  40. 40. My Rainbow-2 , Scarlet .....
  41. 41. The Rainbow , Richard Le Gallienne
  42. 42. Autumn's Rainbow , Loyd C. Taylor, Sr.
  43. 43. A Rainbow Romance , lalitha iyer
  44. 44. The Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow , RIC BASTASA
  45. 45. To My Rainbow Walker , Lonnie Hicks
  46. 46. Rainbow Across My Heart , David Harris
  47. 47. (((Rainbow))) , Marvin Brato Sr
  48. 48. Rainbow - Haiku , Sunil Uniyal
  49. 49. My Rainbow Baby , Harry Bryant
  50. 50. Rainbow Of My Life , gil caguiat
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