Cold Rain

Cold Rain long poem

A cold deserted alleyway,
dark as a desolate grave,
away off in the distance
dogs howling their dismay.

A winter wind is gathering,
blowing old papers away,
with tired forgotten faces
and news of yesterday.

Discarded cans and bottles
clatter on down the street,
the chill night air is biting
as he pulls in his frozen feet.

So many dull and dreary nights
spent seeking private reproof
as the familiar pitter-patter
sounds upon his cardboard roof.

His heart is filled with shame
and a cold, deep hollow pain…

…and here comes the rain.

In and out of a fitful sleep
his dreams are demon-filled,
taunting him and teasing him
destroying the last of his will.

He hears an awful scratching
and he’s searching all about,
the sight of rats around his feet,
he screams and then kicks out.

Scuttling away in the darkness
squeaking out their complaint,
off to find some other poor soul
to torment and to taint.

Another wretched creature
living life down in the drain…

…and here comes the rain.

Traffic swishing here and there
on dampened tarmac lanes,
home to loving arms and
a fire of flickering flames.

Safe within their warm embrace,
they watch the hot flames dance.
No need for words between them
as they drift into a trance.

Silently they kiss and cuddle
and gaze into each others eyes,
warm, dry and safe inside
each others contented sighs.

But the long distant memories
are all that now remain…

…in the cold and pouring rain.

His body starts to tremble
with a deep and longing need,
the painful image beckons him
and then it slowly recedes.

A sob escapes the willful wall
he’d built to hold it all in,
it turns into a mournful moan
that’s lost amidst the din.

His body is wracked with baleful cries
for a life that he once enjoyed,
so fragile he soon discovered
as he’d watched it all destroyed.

And all he now has to show
for all those precious years
is a glimpse of sunlight memory
between clouds of doubt and fear.

A bitter, painful afterimage
and a slowly sagging shelter…

…from the cold and pouring rain.

And as the slow dawn breaks
he lies motionless and quiet,
whilst out there on the busy street
people talk about their diets.

Oblivious to the lifeless victim
enshrined in a cardboard tomb,
a helpless soul in a world of indifference,
he lost his fight too soon.

The report will say hypothermia,
they’ll tie a tag upon his toe
but the real tragedy in his tale
is that nobody will ever know.

That a once proud and happy man
could no longer take the strain.
He died of a broken heart,
in the cold and the dark
and the rain.

Written by Darren Scanlon, 16th September 2014.
Revised 9th May 2015.

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Darren Scanlon

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ALL POEMS ©2015 DARREN SCANLON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. * Words and music have always played a major role in my life. A life without being able to enjoy music and express in words would be, for me, empty and cold.I have been writing since age 16, some 30+ years now but have only recently started publishing my works. Since doing so in Dec 2013, I have published 4 novels and 5 volumes of poetry, (available on words are my life. If they touch you in any way, if you are able to take something from them, then my work has achieved its goal and I am a happy man.Welcome to my world. Darren.
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20 Comments on "Cold Rain"

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Spectacular! Simply emotionally stunning <3

Caroline Glen
Caroline Glen

As always here I am, the critique on a compassionate, clearly-written poem.
Suggestions: I would exchange is,1st line, for a stronger verb. I prefer lower case when no full stop.
sunlight memory? You use ordinary words but your clarity seems to work well


I’d like to know how you came to write that – did you see a homeless man in a cardboard box? Did that prey on your mind? You must have thought about this long and hard – what triggered that? This is exquisite in its starkness, a world of ugly; you must have put yourself in the man’s place.


Powerful poem and one would have to get inside the character to know such desolation. That’s how this works so well, actually with any work of writing “we” are inside what we write.

Caroline, I agree about use of stronger verbs. I wish someone would critique my poems and writing. I miss the workshopping of college with back to back opinions and suggestions.

Peter Kiggin

I feel as though the character is going through withdrawal of some type and is on the edge of self destruction and so every noise is a sharp distinction of how he feels inside, and of course the conclusion is to face the very people he has let down or feels he’s let down when in actuality he has only let himself down.


This certainly pulled on the heart, as this I could imagine is how
it could be. Job very well done I say thanks for sharing.

Archana Kaul

spectacular, simple and so touching…you truly are a wonderful wordsmith…!!

Minnie Mariah Wilson

I very much enjoyed your poem, you place words together beautifully and you’ve captured the reality of many-thank you for sharing.

Minnie Mariah Wilson

This was really great, I very much enjoyed your poem, you place words together beautifully and you’ve captured the reality of many-thank you for sharing.

Rachel McCain

Wow…I just love this! It is so detailed…it has this great quality that just transport you into it. Very well written! Great job!!!!!!


Just read your heartfelt poem and people help the peole came on by birdy, how ironically fitting…. oh and if i had a brain i would be cold as a stone and rich as a fool that turned all those good hearts away. Thank God i use my heart over my brain xo

Raghavendran Ramachandra Rao

A very touching tale of a man dying uncared. The entire narration brings the events alive to the reader.


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