Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“Still Falls the Rain” represents one of the first serious poems Sitwell wrote after she completed Gold Coast Customs (1929). Her decade of relative silence was broken by the encouragement of her brother Sacheverell Sitwell and by the arrival of World War II. Rather than rail at Germany and the other wartime enemies of Great Britain, Sitwell focuses on the larger issues of suffering and absolution as related to all humanity. She prays for Dives and Lazarus, the undeserving as well as the deserving. She acknowledges that Christ suffered for all people and that each year of life (rather than just the war years) is in some sense a cause for his death on the cross. The scene she paints of wartime England becomes a portrait of all history in which humanity is in continual need of redemption. The portrait of Christ at the end of the poem is one of unceasing love and sacrifice. The crimes and griefs of the world seem innumerable, yet the love of God exceeds them all. Thus, in spite of the war era being treated in this work, this poem is very positive in its confidence in God’s ability and willingness to act in a chaotic world.

Beginning with this poem and others of the World War II era, the reading public in England began to recognize that Sitwell was a poet of considerable depth and spiritual insight. This poem is dense with historical allusions and profound in its theological statements. Her readings also gained notoriety, especially one given...

(The entire section is 459 words.)