Agnes Martin, "This Rain," 1960 Oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches from Zwirner and Wirth

Agnes Martin, This Rain, 1960 Oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches from Zwirner and Wirth

Once there were two lovers that had equal hearts.
One would pursue one,
the other would pursue the other.

Then the angels looked down and said:
“What a waste,” and made them perceive each other.
Their hearts melted into one.

They had no use for the world
so they leaped into the swift river.
This heart was always restless
and the only place where it had any rest at all was on the beach.

But even on the beach one said:
“I wish we’d never been made one.”
And immediately one half flew up in the sky
and the other half into the sea.
But they yearned for each other.
And when it rained the one in the sea said:
“This is a message from my other half in the sky.”
And when the water was evaporated from the ocean and rose
up, the other said:
“This is a message from my other half in the sea.”

The angels were stumped.
There’s one thing that God is not able to endure —
a suffering heart.
He felt one half in the sky and one half in the sea.

God thought what to do.
So the one in the sky fell down into the sea
and immediately both turned to sea water.
Ever since that time when the water is drawn up from the sea
and it rains this is not an ordinary rain. It’s the rain
that affects people and softens them.
I painted a painting called This Rain.

Agnes MartinWritings, (Hatje Cantz, 2005).