Rainbow Child

The humid heat had spread
like crude oil on a seashore;
it prickled and burned skin red,
thick and sticky in every pore.

A parasol and paddling pool
were perfect for the chore
of cooling and amusing you:
buckets of water, nothing more.

Sudden storm clouds above the trees
gathered with a growl of thunder,
intensifying swiftly with the breeze
into a dragon-hearted roar.

My rainbow child safely towel-wrapped
backed inside, awed and storm-rapt.

Kim M. Russell, 24th August 2020

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: Storms and Rainbows

Brendan says we are in a season of storms. So far, we have had only a few over here in the UK, but we’ve been hearing and reading about the thunder marches across the earth elsewhere. I love an exciting storm, the louder the thunder the better, and I experienced a beauty while staying at my daughter’s the week before last. One minute, we were in the garden, my grandson playing happily in his paddling pool, the next, clouds suddenly rolled over and the show began. We had to retreat and watch from inside. I don’t remember a rainbow after that storm, but I always look out for a halo of blessing. We tend to get them more up here in Norfolk.

Brendan says that it’s the interface of storm and rainbow—of despair and hope—that interests him and that, in the I Ching, there is a hexagram for it, that speaks of a turning point, where darkness is exhausted and light begins its return, which I find intriguing and deeply touching.

Being a fan of Rilke, I was pleased to see that Brendan shared a translation of one of the Sonnets to Orpheus, which has inspired me to write a sonnet. However, it is not classical, mythical or mystical. It is the simple story of my grandson’s first encounter with a summer storm.

16 thoughts on “Rainbow Child

    1. It was Wednesday – one minute we were enjoying the sunshine and Lucas was splashing in the paddling pool, the next we were huddling in the backdoor, watching the show!


  1. Awww, that rainbow child, safely towel-wrapped and in from the storm. Reminds me of childhood summers at my grandma’s, where I once swam in the lake, all by myself, while a thunderstorm was raging. Yikes. I still remember how the sky looked and how the air smelled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the delight in your poem – your love for the child and your wonder at the impressive power of nature really comes across. The humidity spreading like an oil slick is a great description.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are sonneting so well at the moment. I love this story – there’s a mythic resonance – I guess partly because of your language, but partly because we all know the urge to make a child safe. It’s basic human stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. We were under a parasol, hiding from the sun as we are all fair skinned, and didn’t expect such a fierce growl of a storm or the heavy rain. It was fun though.


  4. It’s a lovely lively sonnet to the bane which gives rise to the balm of storm, and for awe there’s nothing more succinct than a child backing inside. And there, of course, is the rainbow in the shape of a multicolored towel wrapped and rapt. Amen. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

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