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Introduction

The poem The Rain is written by W.H. Davies who spent his life as a tramp or hobo (a person who is homeless, poor and travels from one place to other round the year. W.H. Before going to the poem, we need to understand a little bit background of the poet first.

Davies was born in Britain at a time when Industrial Revolution had brought a significant change in the society. A large number of people migrated to cities when led to unemployment, exploitation, poverty, and many other problems. And one of the most important feature of this development was the growing difference between the poor and the rich.

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W.H. Davies left his home and in an accident lost one of his legs. He began to write poetry which was initially not accepted. This poem is thus poet’s observation of the society as a poor tramp.

The poem has been divided into two stanzas having six lines each. We will go through the meaning and also understand the hidden message of the poem.

Poem

Stanza 1

The poet says that he often hears leaves drinking rain. The rich leaves on the top (of the tree) drink the whole water and give the poor beneath (who are under them) drop after drop i.e. very little, which is left-over. Further he says that the noise of those green (rich) leaves drinking the rain is sweet when heard from near.

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The first stanza makes describes the theme of the poem. When it rain, the leaves which are on the top get the most of the water and hence look greener and healthier as compared to those which are under them.

Here, the poet is not talking about leaves but about humans. He is describing the sharp division between the rich and the poor. Rain here symbolises money and resources. According to the poet, rich people take away all the money and resources and give to the poor (who are beneath them) what is left behind.

Next, the poet says that the noise of rich people taking away all the things is sweet. The phrase sweet noise is an oxymoron because noise is never sweet. The poet is criticising the rich taking away everything and giving almost nothing to the poor.

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So, in the first stanza, we find that that the poem is not about nature or the leaves but about greed of the rich and hardships of the poor and their inability to take anything because rich never allow them. This stanza seems to be pessimistic as it describes the dark side of city life.

Stanza 2

The poet says that one day, when this rain will stop and the sun will come out, a wondrous (delightful) light will fill each dark and round drop (i.e. every corner). And he hopes that the sun will shine bright and it will be a lovely sight.

The second stanza seems to be quite opposite of the first one because this stanza symbolises hope, optimism and a better tomorrow. The poet hopes that one day when there will be no rain i.e. there will be no materialistic things, the delightful light of the sun will brighten everyone.

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Note that the initial letters of Light and Sun are capital which perhaps symbolise God and His divine light. So, the poet is probably talking about afterworld in which there will be no discrimination and all the people will be equally treated by God.

He hopes to see such a day when Sun shines bright i.e. the divine light of God will pour on all the people without any discrimination and thus it will be a very lovely sight. Hence, the poem ends in hope.

Click here to read all the important questions and answers of this poem.

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