(Poem #223) There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.
This is probably Teasdale's best-known poem, though, I feel, more for the message than because it stands out as a poem. The notion that Man is rushing headlong towards his own destruction is one that has embedded itself in the racial consciousness ever since Hiroshima, and one that neither the cold war nor an ever increasing sense of future shock have done anything to dispel. Of course, one of the first writers to spring to mind is Bradbury, who has written a number of stories on the theme, one of them based explicitly on the poem. However, there is a significant difference to be noted. Bradbury's stories - and, indeed, those of a score of other sf writers - all convey a profound sense of tragedy, of loss; which, of course, is hardly surprising. Teasdale, on the other hand, manages to convey a sense of detachment, even indifference. Indeed, one feels, the earth will neither know nor care that mankind has come and gone. And that may be, in the final analysis, the most disturbing prospect of all.  'There Will Come Soft Rains'; see [broken link] http://home.earthlink.net/~hiflyer/APbradbury/twcsr.htm for an analysis of the story Biography etc: See the previous Teasdale poem, Morning, poem #113 -martin