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Long as unending threads, the long-drawn rain
Interminably, with its nails of grey,
  Athwart the dull grey day,
  Rakes the green window-pane--
So infinitely, endlessly, the rain,
The long, long rain.
  The rain.

Since yesternight it keeps unravelling
Down from the frayed and flaccid rags that cling
  About the sullen sky.
  The low black sky;
Since yesternight, so slowly, patiently.
Unravelling its threads upon the roads.
Upon the roads and lanes, with even fall

Along the miles
That 'twixt the meadows and the suburbs lie,
By roads interminably bent, the files
Of waggons, with their awnings arched and tall.
Struggling in sweat and steam, toil slowly by
With outline vague as of a funeral.
Into the ruts, unbroken, regular,
Stretching out parallel so far
That when night comes they seem to join the sky.
For hours the water drips;
And every tree and every dwelling weeps.
Drenched as they are with it.
With the long rain, tenaciously, with rain

The rivers, through each rotten dyke that yields.
Discharge their swollen wave upon the fields.
  Where coils of drownèd hay
  Float far away;
And the wild breeze
Buffets the alders and the walnut-trees;
Knee-deep in water great black oxen stand,
Lifting their bellowings sinister on high
  To the distorted sky;
As now the night creeps onward, all the land,
  Thicket and plain,
Grows cumbered with her clinging shades immense.
And still there is the rain,
The long, long rain.
Like soot, so fine and dense.

  The long, long rain.
  Rain--and its threads identical,
  And its nails systematical,
Weaving the garment, mesh by mesh amain,
Of destitution for each house and wall,
  And fences that enfold
  The villages, neglected, grey, and old:
Chaplets of rags and linen shreds that fall
In frayed-out wisps from upright poles and tall.
Blue pigeon-houses glued against the thatch,
And windows with a patch
Of dingy paper on each lowering pane,
Houses with straight-set gutters, side by side
Across the broad stone gambles crucified,
  Mills, uniform, forlorn.
Each rising from its hillock like a horn,
Steeples afar and chapels round about,
  The rain, the long, long rain,
Through all the winter wears and wears them out.

  Rain, with its many wrinkles, the long rain
  With its grey nails, and with its watery mane;
  The long rain of these lands of long ago,
  The rain, eternal in its torpid flow!

© Emile Verhaeren