About The Author
Coates Kinney, who was born in New York and educated at Yellow Springs, wrote the poem.
The poet expresses nostalgia in this poem whenever raindrops fall on the roof.
He becomes absorbed in sweet memories of the past, comparing the drops falling to the tears shed on dark nights.
He also recalls his mother and how he used to sleep in her lap when he was a child.
When the humid shadows hover
Over all the starry spheres,
And the melancholy darkness
Gently weeps in rainy tears,
What a bliss to press the pillow
Of a cottage-chamber bed,
And lie listening to the patter
Of the soft rain overhead!
According to the poet, as soon as the humid shadows cover the sky, it is time to go outside and play.
When the sky is filled with these moisture-carrying clouds, which are on their way to bring rain, the poet was referring to this situation.
Slowly but steadily, the gloomy darkness that has been haunting the
night fades away.
Aside from that, the poet is drawing a parallel between raindrops and tears that fall from the eyes on dark, gloomy nights.
According to him, lying down while raindrops fall on the roof and listening to the musical drops of falling raindrops appears to be a safe bet.
Every tinkle on the shingles
Has an echo in the heart;
And a thousand dreamy fancies
Into busy being start,
And a thousand recollections
Weave their air-threads into woof,
As I listen to the patter
Of the rain upon the roof.
The poet describes how raindrops make a tinkling sound as they fall on the roof’s shingles in this stanza.
Each sound produced by the rain is immediately repeated by the beating of his heart.
What he has been imagining until now begins to materialise in front of his eyes.
As he listens to the gentle and continuous fall of raindrops on his roof, all his memories flood back to him, but they are not discrete or distinct.
Rather than that, these memories have become entwined, forming a patchwork.
The memories are numerous and have accumulated in a cluster in his mind.
Now in memory comes my mother,
As she used in years agone,
To regard the darling dreamers,
Ere she left them till the dawn:
O! I feel her fond look on me
As I list to this refrain
Which is played upon the shingles
By the patter of the rain.
The poet introduces his mother in this section. He claims to be dreaming about his mother.
As he stated in the preceding stanza, rain brings memories of the past – in this case, the memory of his deceased mother.
Previously, she adored him, she regarded him as a darling, and she would allow him to sleep until daybreak and have sweet dreams.
The poet can still feel his mother’s gaze as he listens to the song created by raindrops falling on his room’s rooftop.
The sound of the rain forces him to reconcile his past and present selves.
That is why the poet is moved by the sound of raindrops falling on his room’s shingles.
Whenever he hears this sound, he is transported back in time and reminded of his mother.
The poem contains a central idea, as Kinney viewed rain as a healer.
Late at night, the musical sound of raindrops falling on the rooftop.
This enabled him to cherish sweet memories from the past.
The rain soothes his mind from his hectic life and transports him back to his childhood, when he used to sleep in her mother’s lap.
NCERT SOLVED QUESTIONS
1. What do the following phrases mean to you? Discuss in class.
(i) Humid shadows
(ii) Starry spheres
(iii) What a bliss
(iv) A thousand dreamy fancies into busy being start
(v) A thousand recollections weave their air-threads into woof
(i) Shadowy clouds laden with (full of) droplets of rainwater.
(ii) Stars in the sky.
(iii) Utmost joy experienced by the poet.
(iv) This refers to the various imaginary thoughts and fantasies that are aroused in the poet’s mind.
(v) This means that numerous (many) memories intermingle to form a beautiful picture that the poet recollects.
2. What does the poet like to do when it rains?
Answer: When it rains, the poet delights in lying with his head pressed against the pillow of his bed in a rural cottage room and listening to the patter of the soft rain on the cottage roof tiles.
3. What is the single major memory that comes to the poet? Who are the “darling dreamers” he refers to?
Answer: The poet’s lone significant memory is of his mother and her loving gaze. The poet and his siblings were referred to as the ‘darling dreamers’ during their childhood, when they were put to sleep by their mother and later when their mother used to look at them while they slept.
4. Is the poet now a child? Is his mother still alive?
Answer: No, the poet is no longer a child. He is an adult. When he is inside his cosy cottage and enjoying the pattern of rain on the roof, he thinks of his mother. His mother is probably not alive, as he states in lines 17-18 that she appears in his memories just as she used to do years ago when she tucked him in his bed to sleep.