The poem “I Think It Rains” by Soyinka possesses a distinctive structure, which in itself is built in metaphor. A hard-to-follow narrative results from the poet’s ability to express his ideas in rain-like drops, using the images of rain and smoke to explore the author’s state of mind. The rain in the poem may be interpreted as the metaphor for both troubling thoughts as well as hope and vitality.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
The challenge with interpreting this poem lies in exploring one’s mind: with thoughts built on associations, quickly switching and flowing into one another, merging like the drops of rain. Soyinka begins by referencing rain as a way to silence excessive talking that leaves no space for reflection by ‘hanging the tongues’ “heavy with knowledge” and ‘loosening’ them from the mouth (731). Rain simultaneously raises thoughts and settles them, like a “sudden cloud, from ashes” (Soyinka 731). Just like real thoughts, the rain in the poem may cause “strange despairs” and teach “the purity of sadness” while also “searing dark longings” and giving the author “wings of our desires” (Soyinka 732). Thus, akin to a thinking process, rain raises and subdues desperation and dark thoughts.
In this poem, rain acts as a vehicle for the tenor of the author’s stream of consciousness. Throughout the poem, rain takes on different meanings and functions by facilitating a quiet process of introspection. Then, Soyinka’s thoughts begin to drift in a continuous flow, recapping the sadness and the goodness of his existence. For the author, raining is semantically equated to reflecting on his life’s path – unorderly, spontaneous, and genuine. Although this process may bring the feeling of sadness or despair, it may also provide hope and relief. Overall, both the imagery and the poem’s structure reminiscent of the rainfall invoke a feeling of getting lost in one’s thoughts.
Soyinka, Wole. “I Think It Rains.” Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forché, 1st ed, W.W. Norton, 1993, pp. 731–32.