After the Winter Rain by Ina Coolbrith

After the Winter Rain

by Ina Coolbrith

After the winter rain, 
   Sing, robin! Sing, swallow!
Grasses are in the lane, 
   Buds and flowers will follow.

Woods shall ring, blithe and gay,
   With bird-trill and twitter,
Though the skies weep to-day, 
   And the winds are bitter. 

Though deep call unto deep
   As calls the thunder, 
And white the billows leap
   The tempest under;

Softly the waves shall come
   Up the long, bright beaches, 
With dainty, flowers of foam
   And tenderest speeches…

After the wintry pain, 
   And the long, long sorrow, 
Sing, heart!—for thee again
   Joy comes with the morrow.

This poem is in the public domain.

After the winter rain, the world is transformed. The sky is a bright blue, the sun is shining, and the air is fresh and crisp. The trees are glistening with raindrops, and the grass is a vibrant green. Everywhere there is a feeling of new life and hope. The birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming. The world is alive and vibrant, and it is a beautiful sight to behold.

Ina Coolbrith’s poem captures this moment perfectly, reminding us that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope and beauty to be found.

Ina Coolbrith was a poet, librarian, and literary figure in California during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was the first California Poet Laureate, and was the first poet laureate of any U.S. state. Coolbrith was born in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1841 and moved to California in 1851. She was a prolific writer, publishing her first book of poetry at the age of 17.

Ina Coolbrith was a key figure in the literary and cultural life of San Francisco and was a mentor to many young writers, including Jack London and Isadora Duncan. She was also a member of the Bohemian Club and the Saturday Club, two of the most prominent literary and cultural organizations in the area. Ina Coolbrith was an advocate for women’s rights and education, and was a leader in the early women’s suffrage movement in California. She died in 1928 at the age of 87.

Were I to write what I know, the book would be too sensational to print, but were I to write what I think proper, it would be too dull to read.

Ina Coolbrith

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

53 thoughts on “After the Winter Rain by Ina Coolbrith

    1. Many thanks for celebrating winter, sunshine and the coming of Spring with me, Luanne. I had never heard to Ina Coolbrith before and never imagined what an extraordinary life she led. That last quote says it all! She was the niece of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. In 1851, when she was 10 years old, she traveled by wagon train to California, reading Shakespeare and Byron’s poems along the way. She entered California in front of the wagon train with the famous African-American scout, Jim Beckwourth, riding with him on his horse. And that is just the beginning!!!! I felt like I was heading down a rabbit hole!!! Exciting!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so pleased that you joined me, the geese, the ducks, the crows and one heron who loves to hide in the shadows of the pond. I would love to take credit for the geese landing so elegantly and loudly. I heard them coming from afar and was just in time to see them make their grand entrance. Your comments and presence are very special to me, Marian. Many thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I know exactly what you mean Jennifer. Vancouver is under a huge deluge of snow. I took a short video to commemorate the day. Can you imagine. Snow in Vancouver when the daffodils usually announce the coming of spring.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. For whatever reason I couldn’t reply directly on your post of Ina Coolbirth, (interesting name) but I wanted to let you know I thought her gentle poem was the right temperature for me, as back east in our neck of the woods it is still very much winter, I’m sad to say. In the meantime I am anxiously waiting for, not winter’s but spring rain and Italia‘s sunshine ! Thank you for sharing Ina’s Winter Rain…


    Liked by 3 people

    1. You should see what’s happening in Vancouver today. The snow is coming down. I took a video of huge snowflakes passing by my window. In a brief walk to the grocery store, I saw snowdrops bravely standing strong against the wind and snow. I had never heard of Ina Coolbrith before and was amazed by her biography. She has a park named after her in San Francisco. Here is a great article that gives a brief background.

      How wonderful to look forward to feeling the warm of the Italian sun. Safe travels – keep in touch.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lavinia or joining me on the Vancouver Seawall to recite, “After the Winter Rain” by Ina Coolbrith. I would have enjoyed meeting her too. What an extraordinary woman ! She lived boldly, creatively with generosity and compassion.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me with the geese, ducks, crows and one heron who likes to hide in the shadows. I had never heard of Ina Coolbrith before and now, I realize that I have missed knowing a remarkable poet, writer and librarian. There are so many stories hidden in the folds of history. There is a “Ina Coolbrith Park” in San Francisco. I found a great link that provides the story behind the park.

      This is a quote by Jack London about Ina Coolbrith “The great writer never forgot her. In 1906, he wrote, “No woman has affected me to the extent you did. I was only a little lad; I knew absolutely nothing about you, yet in all the years that have passed, I have met no woman as noble as you.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful video, Rebecca. You did Ina Coolbrith’s poem proud.
    I felt inspired to google Ina Coolbrith and was delighted I did. What a vibrant yet down to earth character she must have been. First poet laureate in the whole of the US, and seems to have been a leader amongst her piers. Such fortitude she, and her family, must have had to ‘wagon train’ to California in those adventurous times, and possibly treacherous days. Strength must be born in those moments!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad that you explored Ina Coolbrith’s bio. Wasn’t she absolutely amazing and resilient despite all the events that could crush the spirit. I am going to do more exploration into the Overland Monthly and the Golden Gate Trinity: Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, Ina Coolbrith. And the idea for Cincinnatus Miller to change his name to Joaquin Miller because he was enamored what the legendary Californio outlaw Joaquin Murrieta was pure brilliance.

      I continue to learn!!! Many thanks for joining me and Ina with all the geese, ducks, crows and one heron.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I took a ‘little look’ at Wikipedia using the words – Golden Gate Trinity: Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, Ina Coolbrith – Such a tale to be told; exceedingly interesting! And because of its ‘time line’ being recordable, there are a plethora of facts to entertain and inspire.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Martina – I am delighted that you joined me with the ducks, geese and one heron that seems to like to live/roam in the shadows of the pond. “Joy comes with the morrow” is a profound and moving statement. Ina Coolbrith had an extraordinary life, but it was not easy. Her poetry has a melancholy, bittersweet nuance even as she speaks of joyful moments.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for your poetic comments, Alaedin. I confess that I have never heard of Ina Coolbrith before I came across the poem. And then I found this poem when I was going through Ina Coolbrith’s poetry. I recognized having read it before but didn’t connect it to Ina Coolbrith.

      The Birth Of Love

      God made the world and found it ‘good’.
      An Angel Him beside
      Wept softly, and, to question, said
      ‘For what Thou hast denied.’

      ‘And that? ’ God asked him tenderly,
      ‘What is the lack thereof? ’
      ‘Its Soul’- the Angel made reply
      And God created Love.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for walking the Vancouver Seawall with me today, Frank. I enjoy our conversations. Winter has come back over the weekend with a snow warning. Can you believe this in Vancouver!!! YIKES! But I see the snowdrops bravely standing tall and resilient.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Margaret. I had never heard of Ina Coolbrith (her real name was Josephine which, I believe, goes back to her connection with Joseph Smith) before, until I received this poem in my in-box. I discovered she had a extraordinary career as a writer and poet. She received endorsements by poets that are well-known to us: Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce and Alfred Lord Tennyson. I enjoy going back into public domain poetry and exploring the connection with past and present poets.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for joining Ina Coolbrith and me on the Vancouver Seawall. I had never heard of Ina before I received this poem in one of my daily poetry subscriptions. She lived an extraordinary life. There is a hint of melancholy interspersed with the Spring images, a subtle reference to some difficult times in her life, especially the words “joy comes with the morrow.” These words reminded me of Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me, Deborah. I love how serendipity comes calling! I was surprised when I heard the honking behind me (They make a voracious noise to announce their presence.) Vancouver planners have set this area of Charleson Park as a seasonal wetland. There is a resident heron who preside majestically over the crows, ducks and geese. It is a fun place to visit and a perfect setting for poetry recitation.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking of your amazing, bold heroines that you write about, Shey, as I read about Ina Coolbrith’s early years. She was the niece of Joseph Smith. When her father, the brother of Joseph Smith, died, her mother married Joseph Smith. She was the 6th or 7th wife. When Joseph Smith died, Ina’s mother left the community and moved to Saint Louis and remarried. The family eventually moved to California, via a wagon train with Ina reading Shakespeare and Lord Byron along the way. When Ina was 17, she married an iron worker and part-time actor, who turned out to be abusive. The tragedy of losing an infant son prompted her to ask for a divorce, which took place in a sensational public trial. I don’t know the exact details, but there was an altercation between Ina’s stepfather and Ina’s husband resulting in her husband losing his hand. The quote at the end of the post says it all, doesn’t it!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And it is very kind of you to think about my heroines who I know are difficult. The one I am working on right now has left an abusive husband which wasn’t done in these days. But this is the most amazing story here you’ve blessed us with today, of such great spirit.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Ina Coolbrith is a poet and person who should be much better known, Rebecca. Thank you for making her known to your readers. You offered a great recital of “After the Winter Rain” — which has some tricky rhythms — and the geese provided a wonderfully noisy soundtrack. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your heartening comments, Dave. I would love to take credit for the grand entrance of our winged friends LOL. The more I look back into writers and poets who have entered the public domain, the more I realize the debt of gratitude we owe them for their creative work. I had never heard of Ina Coolbrith before I came upon “After the Winter Rain! She lived during in a pivotal time in history. Can you imagine arriving in California by wagon when she was 10, without any idea that her destiny was to become a poet, writer, librarian and prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area community. Joaquin Miller, the “Poet of the Sierras” gained fame because of her efforts. I smiled when I read that the members of the Bohemian Club (men only club) invited her to be their librarian. There are so many wonderful stories held in the folds of history.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I loved the vision Ina Coolbrith created of a blue-skied reprieve after a winter storm. That doesn’t happen much here (especially right now!). But there’s so much joy in this poem. It’s perfect for the cusp of spring. And what an interesting and accomplished person for her time, Rebecca. California was always progressive, wasn’t it?! Thanks for the introduction to this remarkable woman and poet. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love this poem Rebecca! You read it beautifully… did it justice.
    It is so interesting to find out about Ina. From suffragette to laureate…wow, what a life!
    Thank you for this spring (almost) gift!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love the quote by Sidonie Gabrielle Colette: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

      I agree Resa, – “from suffragette to laureate – what a life!!!” When I first came across “After the Winter Rain” and found out more about Ina Coolbrith,I wondered if she know what an extraordinary life she led. Sometimes it takes looking back to see how far we have come.

      When I look back over my life, I am amazed by how many wonderful events I witnessed and experienced.

      Thank you so much for joining me on a Winter walk with Ina Coolbrith! Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sidonie’s quote is is important to hear/know while we still have a decent amount of life left. Although one can’t know if one had a wonderful life until they’ve lived enough of it to put it into a perspective.
        Life is full of these Catch 22’s.
        I’m with you, Rebecca! Life has been wonderful..Oh and still is!
        Had my pics taken for the Toronto Life article today. It’s my first photos since a few years before Covid, and since I grew out my grey hair.
        I might be entering a new & exciting phase.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh Resa – I am so excited for you. Please let me know when the article comes out so that I can celebrate and share it. We are enter a new and exciting phase of life – and its the best fun that we are doing it together.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for joining Ina and me on a nature walk, Liz. There are many “WordPress Mysteries” that will always remain mysteries to me. Unfollowing a blog has happened several times to me too.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a very appropriate post/video for this time of year. The time between winter and summer, the delightful times and days of spring. Thank you for the poem you chose, really very lovely! The many comments that have been added prove that many identified with the words of the poem! As I think of the lovely Vancouver seacoast, I can easily connect the experience with the well chosen words of the poem. We need to treasure the few days we have left of spring, summer comes very soon! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this video, Frances. There are many thoughts that comes through Ina Coolbrith’s words. There is a lightness of spirit and yet, I feel the undercurrent of longing and wistfulness. I agree, we need to treasure these last few days of winter respite before we move forward to the awakening of spring.

      Liked by 2 people

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