Like Edward Thomas’s ‘Rain’, Alun Lewis’s ‘All Day It Has Rained’ is a rain poem that is also a war poem – although Alun Lewis was a poet of the Second World War rather than the First.
Indeed, Lewis was an admirer of Thomas’s poetry and ‘All Day It Has Rained’ might be considered his tribute to Thomas’s rainy war poem (Thomas is even mentioned by name at the end of the poem). The mention of ‘celebrities’ and ‘refugees’ (uneasily rhymed on purpose here) makes this a curiously modern poem – a poem for our times as well as of its time.
All day it has rained, and we on the edge of the moors
Have sprawled in our bell-tents, moody and dull as boors,
Groundsheets and blankets spread on the muddy ground
And from the first grey wakening we have found
No refuge from the skirmishing fine rain
And the wind that made the canvas heave and flap
And the taut wet guy-ropes ravel out and snap,
All day the rain has glided, wave and mist and dream,
Drenching the gorse and heather, a gossamer stream
Too light to stir the acorns that suddenly