Costa Rica Rains

Water colour by David Chorlton

It begins when light
skids off a frog’s back and circles
the almond tree with indigenous
roots and a colonial crown
before being absorbed by
a Blue Morpho’s wings. In the grey moment
that follows
rain begins to tap dance
in the forest, and soon
is stamping, marching, laughing.
Every drop has a voice
in the chorus. Trails slide
from here to there to nowhere
until there’s no way out
from weather that chews up umbrellas
and has no regrets. And when
it stops it gives no notice, just
leaves an orchid in mid-air
as a medal for survival
pinned to the mist.

A basilica’s towers and turrets rise
to meet the grey sky coming down
as a pilgrimage brings miracles in from the rain:
a lizard walks on water; a frog
is a drop of poison
on a leaf; an iguana becomes
steam at a fumerole’s rim; a sloth sleeps
on a bough that hangs from the stars,
and when a jaguar yawns
the moon grows dim. This is the time the Fer-de-lance
loops from an innocent branch
and the glass frog’s heart
is a beacon shining through its skin
like the tiny bulb inside
a radio that turns
everything it plays into rainbows of sound.


All morning from the moment
the forest awakens
and the bird calls hiding there
ring against each other
the sky pours itself into the lagoon.
No boat dares
pull free of its mooring. Even
the caiman has peace in its heart
when thunder walks on water.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.