Rain on the Roof written by Coates Kinney is a thoughtful poem in which the poet expresses his thoughts and past memories when the rain pours over his house. The memories are both sweet and sad. They ease him as well as make him sad.
The poem has been divided into three stanzas having eight lines each. We will discuss meanings of difficult words and understand the meaning of the poem line by line.
The poet says when the shadows (dark clouds) full of humidity (moisture) hover over the starry spheres (sky full fo stars) and the melancholy (sad) darkness weeps gently in rainy tears (rain droplets), the poet feels bliss (joy) while putting his head on the pillow of the bed in his chamber (room) in the cottage and listening to the patter (sound) of the soft rain overhead i.e. rain droplets falling on the top of his cottage.
In other words, the poet is explaining his experience on a rainy night. According to him, he feels joy while lying on his bed in his cottage when the clouds spread on the sky full of stars and it starts raining. The poet loves the sound of rain droplets falling on the roof of his cottage.
Note that we find two different emotions in the same sentence. First is the sorrow (sky weeping in rainy tears). The other is bliss felt by the poet while listening to this weeping of sky.
In stanza 2, the poet says that every tinkle (sound) of rain droplets on the shingles (wooden roof of his cottage) has an echo (arise of feelings) in the heart and a thousand dreamy fancies (thoughts) become busy to start i.e. begin to reflect in his mind.
In other words, the poet says that when he hears the sound of rain droplets falling on the wooden roof of his cottage, poet’s heart is filled with hundreds of thoughts and past memories.
In the next line, the poet says that a thousand recollections (past memories) weave their air-threads into woof i.e. create new imaginations and memories when he hears the sound of rain droplets on the roof.
Note that we do not find any emotions associated with those past memories as well as the new ones in this stanza.
In the third stanza, the poet says that suddenly, the memories of his mother come to his mind. He begins to see her in the same looks which she had many years ago.
He remembers how she used to regard (i.e. kiss) her darling dreamers (i.e. her sleeping children including the poet) ere (before) leaving them for sleeping till dawn (morning). In other words, the poet remembers how his mother used to kiss him and his siblings before going to sleep.
In the next line, the poet exclaims that he feels the way she looked at him (with love) while listening (list) to the refrain (repeated sound) which is played upon (produced by) the shingles (wooden roof) by the falling of rain drops.
In other words, the poet who is still listening to the sound of rain drops falling on the wooden roof of his cottage, feels the love of his mother which he enjoyed long ago.
Here the emotions of the poet seem to be mix of sorrow and joy. The poet feels joy when he thinks about the love of his mother. However at the same time, he misses that love now and thus is sad as well.