The Rain on the Burren

Julie and I are members of the Douglas UCC Creation Justice Team, a group that believes that the way we treat the environment is a matter of justice. We organized our own “Big Read” of Dan Egan’s extraordinarily important book The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, and Tuesday evening a large group gathered to talk about the urgency of not only protecting, but saving the Great Lakes.

It’s unsettling how few of us realize that what is happening to our water everywhere is dire, and without water becoming an issue that everyone becomes aware of, that same everyone will have their lives threatened and the lives who live after become all but unlivable.

Does 45 care? How could he? He doesn’t read. He doesn’t listen. He is the master of “I wouldn’t be around anyway.”

He’d say, “Climate change? A hoax. Damn rain.”

The Rain on the Burren


The morning rain comes every day, bleak
across the grays of limestone. It falls
on the dolmen, austere and singular
since the cold people of the stone age
hoisted the great slab over their dead.
At home this rain would be a reason
to change our little plans. But here we
assume our noses will drip, our feet
will be wet as we walk the roadside
along the stone walls covered in gorse
and wild roses, our breath will warm
our hands. At home, we would be
having our breakfast on the porch,
a bowl of strawberries in cold milk.
In this day’s beginning we let our hands
wrap around a steaming cup of tea,
then find their way to each other.


The rain here is a burst along the horizontal
or a languid drizzle, the light seeming to lag
behind the day’s gray crawl across the limestone.
Peat-dappled smoke rises sweet within the soft
damp, hints at a warm corner, or after the lost hours
of work, a hearth and finally sleep. The chill is mute.
Tomorrow the sun may come, glistening its light
across the subtleties of green and the blue
of the spring gentians, ellipses between the neolithic
slabs and glacial blunder of boulders. And always
this benevolence of stillness, the rain.

–Jack Ridl

Published in Broken Symmetry (Wayne State University Press)

Hey, I’m so delighted to announce the April 1 (perfect!) release of my new book, St. Peter and the Goldfinch, from Wayne State University Press. Yes, preordering is up at that link, and Julie says stay tuned for news of a PARTY!

Congratulations to Susan Glassmeyer, recently named “Ohio Poet of the Year” for her latest collection Invisible Fish (Dos Madres Press) Dos Madres also published David James’s recent collection, if god were gentle, and will be publishing Greg Rappleye’s collection Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds.

Still a few spots for The Lost Lake Writers Retreat. It’s such a beautiful setting, almost too beautiful to be able to write anything. It’s an R and R spot. You can write when you get home after being uplifted by everyone there. Check it out!

Mary McSchmidt will read from her new book Uncharted Waters: Romance, Adventure, and Advocacy on the Great Lakes, Holland Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 10am on Saturday, September 22.

Kristin Brace will be reading from her collection Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin from Finishing Line Press, Wednesday September 26, 6:00pm at Books & Mortar Bookstore, 955 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids.

The Hope College Visiting Writers Series will be hosting writers Matthew Baker, Anne-Marie Oomen,, Linda Nemec Foster, and painter/illustrator Meridith Ridl. Thursday, 7pm, in the concert hall of the Jack Miller Music Center.

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Visit Reader’s World in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

15 thoughts on “The Rain on the Burren

  1. Fave lines: “Peat-dappled smoke rises sweet within the soft / damp” and “ellipses between the neolithic / slabs and glacial blunder of boulders.” Wonderful sounds behind those images. drj

  2. An essential poem, Jack. Thank you so much. It’s beautiful. I just pre ordered two copies of your forthcoming book. I am so so excited you are giving up more poems! Thanks for the shout-out about Invisible Fish!

    • Oh how I love your saying “giving up more poems.” That’s so lovely.
      Only thee.
      And thank you for ordering. I hope you find places to rest within it.

  3. I’ve said for years that the next actual world war will be over fresh water.  We are destroying what we have borrowed from our grandchildren.


    From: “RIDL.COM” Reply-To: “RIDL.COM” Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 9:34 AM To: Subject: [New post] The Rain on the Burren

    Jack posted: “Julie and I are members of the Douglas UCC Creation Justice Team, a group that believes that the way we treat the environment is a matter of justice. We organized our own “Big Read” of Dan Egan’s extraordinarily important book The Death and Life of the Gr”

  4. Among other reasons, this is quite apropos for those of us who have been living with the rains of Hurricane Florence for the past two weeks…

  5. Loved it, Jack! I’m ready head to Monk’s Pub for a bowl of fish chowder and a Guinness.
    Be well, my friend. See you next Friday. D☘️

    • And yah know that this poem could never have come into being without
      the great good gift of our time there that you gave to us.
      See you at Monk’s!

  6. Okay. I am behind in my emails so just picking this one up. WOW! Congratulations on your new book. Wonderful!!! And I love the cover. Will get a copy FOR SURE!

    And I’m glad your group is reading Dan Egan’s book—and learning how critical it is that we take action to protect the Great Lakes! Hurrah for you, Julie and the Douglas UCC Creation Justice Team! Mary


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