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This poem dates from first World War, and although the war is never explicitly mentioned, it is clearly a monologue delivered by a soldier in the solitude of a hut. The rain falls outside, a metaphor for his impending, and possibly imminent, death. The poem expresses feelings of sorrow and loneliness, with an underlying sense of despair. The outside storm is used to mirror the soldier’s inner turmoil, and the rhythmic structure of the poem is used to suggest the effect of the falling rain.
Edward Thomas (1878-1917) was an Anglo-Welsh poet and essayist. He is usually considered a war poet, although few of his poems deal directly with his war experiences. Already an accomplished writer, Thomas turned to poetry only in 1914. In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army to fight in the First World War and was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after he arrived in France.
Although the original title of the poem is simply Rain, I used the title Midnight Rain here to distinguish it from another choral work of mine titled Rain. Midnight Rain was written for the University of Auckland Glee Club 2014 at the suggestion of a friend who was a member of the club.
It was first performed by the University of Auckland Glee Club on 4th October 2014.
Text from Rain by Edward Thomas
Suitable for school and community choirs
Written for the University of Auckland Glee Club 2014