It had been raining for seven years, thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filed from one end to the other with rain with the drum and gush of water with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus.

The above extract is from "All summer in a day" written by Ray Douglas Bradbury. I couldn't understand what it meant by 'with the drum and gush of water with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands'. I searched over the internet and asked my friends but no one was able to explain the meaning. Could someone explain what is meant by the above mentioned lines?

  • 1
    Congratulations on making the effort to make sense of what is frankly a rather overdone description. To take one example, seven years on Venus takes 225x7 = 1,575 Earth days. This is nothing like "thousands upon thousands" of years. And, since a Venus day is slightly longer than the Venus year, seven Venus years would last slightly less than a Venus week.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 6:55
  • 2
    It's poetry, man!
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 12:10
  • Is "filed" a typo or is it a financial/bookkeeping metaphor with "compounded"?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 8 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


Ray Bradbury was a famous science fiction writer, but he also wrote poetry. His poetic instincts came into play in much of his prose writing. In this particular story, the main character is a girl who was born on earth and has seen the sun. However, for several years she has been at an earth colony's elementary school on Venus. Her fellow students were born on Venus and have never seen the sun, so don't miss it. She does and longs to see it again. The incessant rain depresses her as if doesn't the other students, who have known only rain. The words you have in italics are a parenthetical description of the rain's impression on her, almost stream of consciousness. Drum, gush, crystal fall (think tinkling), and concussion are the sounds she has heard for years. She is mad for the rain to stop so she can once again see the sun. Spoiler alert: On this one day when the sun appears on Venus, her fellow students, disbelieving her description of what sunlight looks and feel like, lock her in a closet, so that she doesn't experience that day of sun.


He's talking about a monster rain storm, loud and fierce, rumbling with thunder and the visual violence of silent lightning. He doesn't say anything about light or lightning, but we're talking about a storm, and we know what that's about.

"drum and gush of water" I'm thinking the "drum" is thunder, while the "gush of water" is the heavy rain.

"sweet crystal fall of showers" I had some trouble understanding this phrase. Raindrops can catch the light and twinkle like crystals, but storm clouds can cover the sun and turn day into night. So I'm thinking he loves the look and sound of rain, calling them "sweet". As for "crystal", I'm thinking it is a metaphor for raindrops, as both are clear and refract light.

"concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands" If you've ever been caught in a big storm, you know what he is talking about here. Perhaps the "tidal waves come over the islands" is hyperbole, but then again, some storms lay water down in such torrents such that the swollen waves pound the island with such ferocity that the flooding and waves are like tidal waves crashing onto the beach, threatening to submerge it entirely. I've never been on an island during a storm like that, but I've been in big storms and it feels like an entire river is raining down. I've seen a river go from barely wet to such volume that it spills out over the riverbanks, flooding the entire area.

hope that helps

  • 2
    I didn't read "drum' as meaning thunder but rather the sound of heavy rain falling. There are times when rain is heavy enough that it actually makes a drumming sound even on solid ground. He also refers to forests and rain can definitely drum on trees. Of course rain drums more commonly and more loudly on artificial hollow surfaces like roofs and storage containers but certainly can drum on the ground.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 6:13

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