African Rain

We puttered up the hill in the little black Morris Minor
My mother and I.

The trees hung listless in the heat.
Dusty; dry.

My brown school uniform stuck to the back of the seat.
My panama hat left a red sweat rim on my forehead.
My feet boiled inside socks and shoes.

No-one was around in the scorching afternoon.
Only the drowsy insects pulsed a singing silence.

And then, with a smash of thunder and a roll of drums
thundering over the rumbling hills
lightning splitting the sky,
the rain came.

Pouring waterfalls,
cascading metallic sheets of water,
drenching, ecstatic.

Cars stopped; from every house and garden people suddenly emerged;
dancing, laughing, drinking in the rain.
The blessed, blessed rain,
mercy falling from heaven
upon the place beneath.

I stood in the water as it soaked
through my clothes,
through my skin,
into my mouth,
into my bones,
cooling the racing heat of my blood,
a revelation.

As around me and inside me the world sprung into life.


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