There Will Come Soft Rains

There Will Come Soft Rains

"There Will Come Soft Rains" is a 12-line poem by Sara Teasdale written in 1920. The subject of the poem imagines nature reclaiming the earth after humanity has been wiped out by a war (line 7) The voice of the poem speaks definitely, the way in which the poet imagines how little the human race will be missed is an absolute certainty and not just a possibility. The poem reads:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pool singing at night,And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not oneWill care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself when she woke at dawnWould scarcely know that we were gone.

The poem is comprised of six stanzas, each made up of a rhyming couplet. The rhythm of the poem is close to iambic pentameter but each line deviates from this slightly; the one line which maintains iambic pentameter is line 7 'And not one will know of the war, not one' notably the first two syllables of the next line have been included here, also suggesting that the poet has intentionally included them to complete the metre. It might be proposed that the rest of the poem has been written close to iambic meter reflects the world of the poem is one where the remains of human existence are dissipating; for example the robins are 'on a low fence-wire' suggesting it has either fallen over or begun to sink into the ground which no longer belongs to the human race.

The imagery in the poem is also dreamlike; for example the idiosyncratic use of the adjective 'shimmering' in the second line to describe sound rather than light, and the phrase 'wild plum trees in tremulous white' makes the image seem ambiguous and hard to imagine, as plum trees are not white and 'tremulous' suggests a kind of shaking movement which we would not normally associate with trees.

The use of metaphor in the poem to further illustrate the image of the robins wearing 'their feathery fire' implies the idea not just of the colour of the feathers but also how warm they keep the birds. The robins are also personified; their birdsong is described as 'whims', which contrasts them with the swallows whose appearance, despite the unusual way their sound is described, is far more naturalistic. This draws attention to them and perhaps suggests they are emblematic of something more than birds which have outlived humanity; they are perhaps a symbol of the leaders who have led humanity to its destruction. The poet also places them on a fence rather than a more organic perch, further connecting them with humans rather than the natural world.

In the last stanza there is a notion of a new life force emerging; 'Spring' is personified as a woman about to awaken; there is a suggestion of a previous connection with humanity by the use of the word 'scarcely' which suggests that she will notice, but perhaps not immediately. This seems to presuppose that previously the connection between humans and the natural world was bolder and more established but then fell into decline and now that they have perished it makes little difference as the relationship had ceased long before.

The poem is optimistic in on sense as it assumes (as might be expected from a poet writing in a pre-nuclear era) that nature will continue and life on earth will succeed after humanity's final war. Given that the time of the poem was written shortly after the first world war however it is also pessimistic and pre-empts more war to come and with it the end of the human race.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • There Will Come Soft Rains (short story) — This article is about the short story. For the poem by Sara Teasdale, see There Will Come Soft Rains. There Will Come Soft Rains is a short story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury.Plot summarySet in August, 2026 in the city of Allendale,… …   Wikipedia

  • Classic Soft Rock — Infobox Album Name = Classic Soft Rock Type = box Artist = various artists Released = 2006/2008 Recorded = Genre = Soft rock Length = Label =Time Life Records Producer = Reviews = Last album = This album = Next album = Classic Soft Rock was a 10… …   Wikipedia

  • The Martian Chronicles —   …   Wikipedia

  • Будет ласковый дождь (стихотворение) — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Будет ласковый дождь (значения). Будет ласковый дождь There Will Come Soft Rains Жанр: стихотворение Автор: Сара Тисдэйл (более распространённая транскрипция фамилии Тисдейл) …   Википедия

  • List of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction — This is a list of apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction works, sorted by the nature of the catastrophe portrayed.World War III and other apocalyptic wars (between humans)Films1930s*1936. Things to Come , in which an extended future second… …   Wikipedia

  • Будет ласковый дождь — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Будет ласковый дождь (значения). Будет ласковый дождь There Will Come Soft Rains …   Википедия

  • Stylistic device — In literature and writing, a stylistic device is the use of any of a variety of techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea, or feeling to the literal or written. Figurative Language MetaphorA metaphor is a comparison used to add descriptive… …   Wikipedia

  • Weird Fantasy — Supercbbox| title=Weird Fantasy caption=Al Williamson Frank Frazetta cover, issue #21 schedule=Bimonthly format=Anthology publisher=EC Comics date=May/June 1950 November/December 1953 issues=22 main char team= writers= artists= pencillers= inkers …   Wikipedia

  • List of nuclear holocaust fiction — This list of nuclear holocaust fiction lists the many works of speculative fiction that attempt to describe a world during or after a massive nuclear war, nuclear holocaust, or crash of civilization due to a nuclear electromagnetic pulse.… …   Wikipedia

  • Ray Bradbury — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bradbury. Ray Bradbury …   Wikipédia en Français