The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“Spring Rain” is a short poem of twenty-four lines that are broken into six stanzas of four lines each. Set in the spring following the February beginning of the 1917 bloodless Russian Revolution, the poem is written as if the speaker were not a participant but simply a witness to the urban scene recorded. While there is no reference to an “I,” the last line of stanza 6 contains the word “our,” which by implication broadens the voice. In the quotation from Nikolaus Lenau’s poem “Das Bild,” the epigraph to Sestra moia zhizn’: Leto 1917 goda, the volume in which “Spring Rain” first appeared, “my beloved girl” is named as someone whom the poet wishes to draw into the experience of the poems. The “our” could be interpreted to mean the poet and the beloved girl of the epigraph.

From the beginning line, rain takes on properties beyond that of mere water falling from the sky. The speaker anthropomorphizes the downpour such that it first grins at a wildflower, then sobs, and then soaks things as diverse as the hard shine of vehicles and breeze-blown flora. In the last two lines of the stanza, the speaker sets the scene: The action is outside at night, near a theater where a crowd of people is being managed by a policeman.

The effects of the rain and the moonlight, the positive transforming powers, are described in the next two stanzas. Drops, called both “tears” and “damp diamonds,” touch everything,...

(The entire section is 533 words.)