Rainbow

By John Updike
Audio: Hear the author read this poem.






Short storms make the best rainbows—
twenty minutes of inky wet, and then,
on the rinsed atmosphere's curved edge,
struck by the re-emergent sun
in impermanent and glorious coinage,
mint-fresh from infra-violet to ultra-red,
gigantic, ethereal, rooted in the sea
seen through it, dying a bell-buoy green,

it has appeared. And when it fades, today,
it leaves behind on the bay's flat glaze
a strange confetti of itself, bright dots
of pure, rekindled color, neon-clear.
What are we seeing? Lobster-pot markers,
speckling the brine with polychrome.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/11/rainbow/308054/