A Short Story of Falling by Alice Oswald - A Friend to Charlie

In this episode, Charlie talks with us about the poem that has been a friend to him – 'A Short Story of Falling' by Alice Oswald.

Charlie joined The Poetry Exchange online, via video call, for one of our 'Lockdown Exchanges' and is in conversation with Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett Alistair Snell.

Many thanks to Alice Oswald and United Agents for granting us permission to share the poem in this capacity. Find out more about Alice and her work here:


Al reads the gift reading of 'A Short Story of Falling'.


A Short Story of Falling

It is the story of the falling rain
to turn into a leaf and fall again

it is the secret of a summer shower
to steal the light and hide it in a flower

and every flower a tiny tributary
that from the ground flows green and momentary

is one of water's wishes and this tale
hangs in a seed-head smaller than my thumbnail

if only I a passerby could pass
as clear as water through a plume of grass

to find the sunlight hidden at the tip
turning to seed a kind of lifting rain drip

then I might know like water how to balance
the weight of hope against the light of patience

water which is so raw so earthy-strong
and lurks in cast-iron tanks and leaks along

drawn under gravity towards my tongue
to cool and fill the pipe-work of this song

which is the story of the falling rain
that rises to the light and falls again

Reprinted by permission of Alice Oswald and United Agents
Source: Falling Awake (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016)