Wednesday 1 July 2020

Rain on the Roof

Rain on the Roof

Analysis of the poem

§  The poem ‘Rain on the Roof’ is composed by Coates Kinney, a well known American lawyer, journalist and poet.
§  The poem describes the experience of the poet associated with rain. It brings his childhood memories back and the ones associated with his mother.
§  The poem is rich in language and possesses musical quality with the wonderful handling of sound words. It is lyrical and rhythmic in style.
§  The poem is divided in three stanzas, each consisting an octave (stanza of 8 lines). It has proper rhyme scheme with each alternate line rhyming. The tone of the poem is melancholic as the poet feels sad remembering his mother who died in his childhood.
§  One is clearly able to make out the theme of the poem that nature brings boundless bliss and rain revives beautiful memories.
§  The impactful description in the poem successfully makes the readers visualise the bliss of nature and cool atmosphere of rain and respond to its beauty and melody through his powerful imagery and skilful handling of other poetic devices.

Summary / Synopsis

·       The humid clouds overcast the sky and hide the stars. Then, it starts raining. It appears to the poet that a sad woman weeps and her tears are falling in form of rain drops.
·       The poet finds it a blessing to lie on his bed in his cottage keeping his head on the pillow as he enjoys the musical patter of the rain.
·       Every rain drop falling on the iron rods in his roof produces a sound and the sound echoes in his heart. When he listens to the patter of the rain, it brings many beautiful memories in his mind and he starts recollecting beautiful moments from his childhood, especially associated with his mother.
·       When he remembers his mother, he recalls what his mother used to do in the past. He recalls how his mother used to make the poet and his siblings sleep and when they had slept, she used to lovingly look at the faces of her children.

Difficult Expressions

Humid shadows – It refers to the darkness or shadows created by dark clouds that float in the sky upon the roof of the narrator. When the rainy clouds float and wander in the sky, they hide the bright light of sun and make the atmosphere hot and humid.

Starry spheres – This phrase refers to the stars which are spherical in shape. They are covered by the clouds and look dim and don’t shine.

What a bliss – The rainy atmosphere becomes a blessing to the poet as it brings happiness in form of cool atmosphere, sonorous sound of patter and recollections of memories.

Thousand dreamy fancies into busy being – this phrase conveys that due to rain the poet’s mind has become busy recollecting the uncountable memories associated to his past. Countless memories capture his mind and make it busy.

Weave their air threads into woof – here, the poet wants to convey that his memories of the past make place in his mind during rain and these memories are compared to threads that are coiled into a woof, a bundle. Just like thread is coiled into a woof or bundle in the same way his past memories are recollected and circulated in his mind.


Rain and cool atmosphere brings out the theme that nature brings boundless bliss and rain revives beautiful memories with its musical patter. Beautiful nature gives an outlet to beautiful emotions and   makes us euphoric and nostalgic.

Autobiographical Element

The poem has got an autobiographical element as the poet Coates Kinney remembers his mother. The rainy atmosphere brings back his childhood memories associated with his mother who used to lovingly make him sleep and fondly look at his face.

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Poetic Devices

When the humid shadows hover – Alliteration
Over all the starry spheres – Alliteration
What a bliss to press the pillow – Alliteration
And lie listening to the patter - Alliteration  
Of the rain upon the roof – Repetition
By the patter of the rain – Repetition
And a thousand dreamy fancies – Assonance
Every tinkle on the shingles – Assonance
Weave their air threads into woof – Assonance
Of the rain upon the roof – Assonance   
I feel her fond look on me – Assonance
As I list to this refrain – Assonance
And the melancholy darkness – Personification 
Gently weeps in rainy tears – Personification
Gently weeps in rainy tears – Metaphor
What a bliss to press the pillow – Consonance
 Of the rain upon the roof – Consonance  
Has an echo in the heart – Alliteration
Into busy being start – Alliteration
Weave their air threads into woof – Alliteration  
Now in memory comes my mother – Alliteration
To regard the darling dreamers – Alliteration
Ere she left them till the dawn – Alliteration
Every tinkle on the shingles – Onomatopoeia
As I listen to the patter – Onomatopoeia
By the patter of the rain – Onomatopoeia

Questions – Answers

Q1. What is the single major memory that comes to the poet? Who are the ‘darling dreamers’?

Ans. When it rains, the single major memory that comes to the poet is the one associated with his mother. The poet recalls thousand incidents but major memory is of his mother. The ‘darling dreamers are the poet and his siblings whom the mother makes lovingly sleep and the, she fondly looks at her children’s faces.

Q2. Is the poet now a child? Is his mother still alive?

Ans. The poet is now a grown up man and he remembers the time when he was a child as he talks about ‘years agone’. I don’t think the poet’s mother is alive as he feels sad to think of his mother and what she used to do to him in past. He doesn’t remember things of recent past.

Q. Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:

 RTC 1

When the humid shadows hover
Over all starry spheres
And the melancholy darkness
Gently weeps in rainy tears,

1.    What are the ‘humid shadows’ referred here?

2.    What is the effect they have on the sky?

3.    Why does the poet call darkness as a melancholy?

4.    Find a word from the passage whose meaning is same to ‘sadness’.

5.  Who weeps here?

6. Pick out a poetic device in last line.



Every tinkle on the shingles
Has an echo in the heart;
And a thousand recollections
And a thousand dream fancies
Into busy being start,
Weave their air threads into woof,

1.     How does the poet describe the falling of rain?

2.     What does the mind of the poet fancy?

3.     Name the poet. Where is the poet this time?

4.     Trace a word from the extract that means ‘memories’.

5.   What does the word 'woof' mean?

6.   Pick out poetic device in first line.



1.     The humid shadows are the dark clouds that are about to rain and covering the sky.

2.     They hide the stars and overcast the sky making the atmosphere completely dark.

3.  Darkness is often associated with sadness. A sad person tends to find a dark corner to hide. This dark atmosphere makes the poet sad

4.     melancholy

5. Here rain drops are compared to the tears of a lady who is sad and weeping. darkness is described as a lady and tears as rain drops.

6.  Personification and metaphor

        RTC 2

1.     The poet says that the falling of rain and tinkling sound of rain drops creates emotional turmoil in his heart and takes down the memory lane.

2.     Old thoughts and memories are recollected by the poet. He remembers his childhood days.

3.     Coates Kinney, He lying on his bed in a room of his house and enjoying the rain.

4.     recollections

5.   a pattern or fabric woven with threads

6. Onomatopoeia (tinkle), assonance (tinkle - shingles)