Sunday, February 1, 2015

Noises of Rain

When it arrives, rain makes noises besides raising scents. It is certainly the case of storms. It does not seems very much important in science, except for underwater noises. But it is important for us. Personally the arriving of a storm (maybe because I was not expose to very extreme, dangerous,  and violent events) gives me a sense of tranquillity or renovation. 

Poets and novelists care, though. One of the thing I learn in my family is this short poetry probably composed at age five by Rabindranath Tagore:

“The rain patters 
   the leaf quivers”

My uncle Marino turning ninety soon, pronounce in Bengoli “bristi pore-pata nore” with a pause between the two lines. 

Another piece of literature to which I am really fond of is the incipit of “Libera nos A Malo”, the novel by Luigi Meneghello.  Libera nos a Malo was translated in English in “Deliver Us”. However, the title reminds, at the same time, Catholic Liturgy, and Malo, the place where Meneghello was born, incidentally a little town confining with my own. He depicts it so intimately in the years between the 30ies and the 50ies, with this language which is my own native, but with many respects so universal. I use it to begin my hydrology course. Below in the translation of Joseph Tomasi, a friend of mine and former student (he translated also the Tagore's line). 

“It begins with a storm …

They were rolls, waves that finished in a puff: known noises, village things. Everything that we have here is animated, lively, maybe because the distances are short and fixed as in a theatre.  The downpours were onto the courtyards here around, the thunder up here above the roofs; I could recognize by ear, a little further up, the place of the usual God that made storms when we were children, He too a village character.  Here all is as if intensified, a matter of scale probably, of inner relationships. The shape of the noises and of these thoughts (which were, after all, the same thing) seemed to me for a moment truer than true, but it cannot be recreated with words. “

Third, it comes, a classic (at least for Italians) from Gabriele D’Annunzio. I can dislike his ideas and what he represented. However, Rain in the pinewood is really beautiful and enjoyable. 
(Translation from here, original from here, composed probably around 1902)

Be silent. At the edge
of the woods I do not hear
the human words you say;
I hear new words
spoken by droplets and leaves
far away.
Listen. It rains
from the scattered clouds.
It rains on the briny, burned
it rains on the pine trees
scaly and rough,
it rains on the divine
on the bright ginestra flowers
gathered together,
on the junipers full of
fragrant berries,
it rains on our sylvan
it rains on our
bare hands
on our light
on the fresh thoughts
that our soul, renewed,
on the beautiful fable
that beguiled you
yesterday, that beguiles me today,
oh Hermione.

Can you hear? The rain falls
on the solitary
with a crackling noise that lasts
and varies in the air
according to the thicker,
less thick foliage.
Listen. With their singing, the cicadas
are answering this weeping,
this southern wind weeping
that does not frighten them,
and nor does the grey sky.
And the pine tree
has a sound, the myrtle
another one, the juniper
yet another, different
under countless fingers.
And we are immersed
in the sylvan spirit,
living the same
sylvan life;
and your inebriated face
is soft from the rain,
like a leaf,
and your hair is
is fragrant like the light
ginestra flowers,
oh terrestrial creature
called Hermione.

Listen, listen. The song
of the flying cicadas
becomes fainter
and fainter
as the weeping
grows stronger;
but a rougher song
rises from afar,
and flows in
from the humid remote shadow.
Softer and softer
gets weaker, fades away.
One lonely note
still trembles, fades away.
No one can hear the voice of the sea.
Now you can hear the silver rain
pouring in
on the foliage,
rain that purifies,
its roar that varies
according to the thicker,
less thick foliage.
The child of the air
is silent; but the child
of the miry swamp, the frog,
far away,
sings in the deepest of shadows
who knows where, who knows where!
And it rains on your lashes,

It rains on your black lashes
as if you were weeping,
weeping from joy; not white
but almost green,
you seem to come out of the bark.
And life is in us fresh
and fragrant,
the heart in our chests is like a peach
under the eyelids our eyes
are like springs in the grass
and the teeth in our mouths
green almonds.
And we go from thicket to thicket,
at a time together, at a time apart
(the vegetation, thick and vigorous,
entwines our ankles
entangles our knees)
who knows where, who knows where!
And it rains on our sylvan
it rains on our
bare hands
on our light
on the fresh thoughts
that our soul, renewed,
on the beautiful fable
that beguiled me
yesterday, that beguiles you today,

oh Hermione.

P.S. - The picture is by Michele Vettorazzi. He describes his photo as follows: "I was close to the Refuge Rome, where I was for the climbing the next day  Monte Nevoso (3358 m),  Monte Magro (3273 m) and Sasso Lungo (3227 m). In the late afternoon I saw it coming a storm announced by blacks heavy clouds  that were gathering near the Collalto (3435 m). I immediately looked for something interesting to put in the foreground to give strength to the composition,  and I found these large boulders. I ran a dozen shots; its last step the position of the clouds, lightning and boulders was perfect. Shortly after the storm was over. Nikon D800, 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm; ISO 80; f / 20 - 20 sec. Incidentally Michele was my second graduate student, many years ago but, obviously, I do not have any role of his ability as photographer.

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