The Rain

by Paul Muldoon

Just moments after you offered your hand to the rain
the rain would seem to palm you off
with the overflowing train
of a wedding gown and the unbleached coif

worn by Joan of Arc
under a steel casque. The only ray
of hope was a hoof spark
on the road to Vouvray

after the hailstorm
of June 2013 when the grape crop
pretty much came a cropper. A swarm
of bees so loves a photo-op

it will hang out its shingle on 62nd Street
while waiting for Otello
to warm up his thunder sheet.
You know Toscanini played second cello

for the toffee-nosed toffs
attending the premiere? The Met might refrain
from letting a horse tread the boards in Godunov
did it not take more than a rein

to halt such trends. If a touch of cadmium yellow
is enough to elicit snow or sleet
from a canvas surely some Robin Goodfellow
could have launched not only a horse but a fleet

of chariots by way of the scene shop.
That was back in 2010, when it was indeed the norm
for a statue to swap
itself out for Il Commendatore, a cloud to transform

itself into a woman way
reminiscent of Julie Harris in The Lark,
the woman now dismounting her dapple-gray
in the dawn-dark,

consoling it with a snort of grain
and leading it to an overflowing trough
just moments after you offered your hand to the rain
and she seemed to palm you off.