Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. He was one of the influential poets of American literature and was considered as father of free verse. ‘Leaves of Grass’ is one of his most famous works which stirred up controversy regarding its overt sexual content.
In “Voice of the Rain”, Walt Whitman composes a conversation between him and the rain as it felt from the heavens upon the earth. The poet asks the raindrops, “Who are you?” and he even gets back a reply. In his poem, “Voice of the Rain”, the poet translates the answer for his readers.
The rain says that it is the poem of the earth. It is born in an invisible and intangible form which rises from the water bodies and reaches the infinite sky to change its appearance into clouds of different shapes and sizes. Yet the rain says it remains the same in its heart as it was at its birth.
The rain then falls down on the earth as little water droplets which brings respite to us, rejuvenates the earth’s soul and washes away dust and dirt. It gives life to new plants which would have otherwise remained unborn underground the land as mere seeds. Thus, rain continues its journey where it returns to the earth, its place of origin giving it life and making it all the more beautiful and pure.
Walt Whitman feels that the rain is kind of some song. The song’s birth place is the poet’s heart. Once it is completed, it transfers from one person to person and one day it returns to all its listeners.
The last lines of the poem are kept in brackets as they do not belong to the conversation between the poet and the rain.
“Voice of the Rain” is written in blank verse and the tone of the poem is conversational in nature. This method has an advantage. It helps to maintain continuity of thoughts and ideas of the poet and also bring clarity and vividness in expression. The rain is the speaker and has been personified. It answers back to the poet when asked ‘what art thou?’ by Whitman.
The poem conveys a message to its readers that a rain is the poem of the earth which symbolizes that it brings happiness and joy to the humans just like poetry.