There Will Come Soft Rains
"There Will Come Soft Rains" is a 12-line poem by Sara Teasdale. The work was first published in the July 1918 issue of Harper's Magazine, and later included in her 1920 collection Flame and Shadow (see 1920 in poetry). The poem imagines nature reclaiming a battlefield after the fighting is finished. The poem also alludes to the idea of human extinction by war (lines 10 and 12), which was not a commonplace idea until the invention of nuclear weapons, 25 years later.
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
The text above is based on the poem as it appears in Teasdale's 1920 collection Flame and Shadow. The original 1918 publication in Harper's Magazine includes slight differences: "swallows calling" / "wild-plum trees" / "bird nor tree," (added comma).
The entire poem is quoted in the novel The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth (2018).
The poem is quoted, (lines 10 and 12) by the main character, in the 2016 film The Forest.
In the video game Fallout 3, a Mister Handy Robot recites this poem for the long dead children of the family he belonged to, the robot itself carrying out its daily routine as in the Bradbury story.
- Harper's Magazine, vol. CXXXVII, p. 238 (July 1918), available at HathiTrust (visited July 29, 2017) or harpers.org (visited July 29, 2017, login required).
- Macmillan 1920, pp. 89–90, available at Google Books (visited July 29, 2017)
- Conversations with Ray Bradbury Ray Bradbury, Steven L. Aggelis, 2004, p. 107 1578066417 "The one that comes to mind first is 'There Will Come Soft Rains,' which is about a house in the future that goes on living after the city is destroyed"
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