Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me About Crying in the Shower?

Waterfall and Rainbow at Yosemite National Park

Not being able to find a poem that I need is like misplacing my aspirin or car keys--I get stuck. I expected to find the text on the Internet; after all everything is on the Internet. With a wee bit of glee, I discovered that an old friend of mine, "Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me About Crying in the Shower?" had escaped the world wide web. Two copies of this poem should be in my house, one in a trade paperback and the other in a poetry folder from college. When I finally found it, bound in a clear-covered folder, handwritten, with doodles to decorate, I felt much relief. That yellow folder houses a lot of memories, and more than a few poems that helped me through my late teenage years, this being one of them.

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me About Crying in the Shower?
By Ray Bradbury

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me About Crying in the Shower?
What a fair fine place to cry.
What a rare place to let go
And know that no one hears---
Let fall your tears which, with the rain that falls,
Appall nobody save yourself, and standing there
You wear your sadness, properly assuaged,
Your head and face massaged by storms of spring
Or, if you think it, autumn rain.
You drain yourself away to naught, the move to joy;
But sadness must come first, it must be bought.
A thirst for melancholy, then, must find its place
To stand in the corners and know grief;
The last leaf on the tree may turn you there,
Or just the way the wind, with cats, 
Prowls down the garden grass
Or some boy passing on a bike,
Selling the end of summer with a shout, 
Or some toy left like doubt upon a walk,
Or some girl’s smile that, heedless, cracks the heart, 
In all your house is empty, still,
Your children gone, their warm rooms chill,
Their summer-oven beds unyeasted, flat, 
Waiting for cats to visit some half-remembered ghost
In the long fall.
So, for absolutely no good reason at all
Old oceans rise
One’s eyes are filled with salt; 
Something unknown then dies and must be mourned.
Then standing beneath the shower at noon or night
Is right and proper and good--
One’s interior land is wonderfully nourished by tears:
The years that you brought to harvest
Are properly scythed down and laid,
The games of love you played are ribboned and filed, unbound
So freely found then, know it, let it go
From out your eyes and with the sweet rain flow.
But now, good boys, strong gentlemen, take heed: 
This stuff is not for women, lost, alone;
The need is yours as well as theirs.
Take women’s wisdom for your own.
Take sorrow’s loan and let your own cares free
Christ, give it a try!
Not to learn how to weep is, lost fool,
But to learn how to die.
Stand weeping there from midnight until morn,
Then from impacted wisdom shorn, set free,
Leap forth to laugh in freshborn children’s hour and shout:
Oh, damn you, maids, that’s what it’s all about?
Sweet widows with your wisdom, blast you all to hell!
Why, why God, oh why,
Why wouldn’t someone tell me about crying in the shower.


  1. What a poem! What lovely images, meters and rhymes. How coaxing,freeing, soothing, restoring. From my few exposures to Ray Bradbury I take him as a mind that can light up the night.

    Easy to see, Annie, why you had to find that yellow folder from early days when such soulful words showed healing ways.

    Having succeeded in finding your car keys you may drive into your day just as you feel. You have added one more pearl to the growing string of All Things Important. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Annie for finding this poem. I never experienced Ray Bradbury as a poet before -- though I had heard him as a poetry critic. Now I know he has a right because he is so good.
    Hope all is well with you. xoxo

  3. I read this poem many years ago and have been looking for it lately to no avail. I finally found this today and I thnk you for posting it. It's an amazing poem, who knew a sci-fi writer could be so sensitive?

    1. Renee, your post made my day! It floors me that my blog is the only place on the web to find this poem but I'm very proud of that fact too! I'm glad you found it and thanks for letting me know.