Thursday, June 15, 2006

i've looked at clouds

I read this poem the other day in a journal and really enjoyed it. I have to admit, being a fan of short poems, I leafed past this one a couple times before I decided to read it, and, in fact, the title wasn’t much of a draw. How many poems are there about clouds? Many of them dull? But this one develops with surprises and those little revelations that speak in poetry. The poet, Tom C. Hunley, gave me permission to reprint it. If you like it, check out his site, which has a bunch of terrific original and humorous poems.

None of Them Wanted to be a Cloud
- - a line from Lorca’s “Ode for Walt Whitman”

I wanted to be a cloud. Clouds are going places.
Clouds are never voted most likely to succeed,
but they’re always the most likely to surprise,
which is a kind of success, if that is the goal.
Only a fool would write “Don’t ever change”
in a cloud’s high school yearbook.
A cloud knows what it’s like to be white
and what it is like to be black.
A clouds knows what it is to live as a man,
what it is like to live as a woman,
what it is like to take the form of a dog
with only three legs, the form of a beheaded octopus,
its legs stretched and then pulled apart.

Clouds are not lonely, William Wordsworth.
For I have seen them travel in crowds.
They have reminded me of sheep.
I’ve seen a sunburned cloud. Its suffereing
filled the sky with such beauty!
Clouds are the sky’s chameleon poets.
I have seen clouds weep, unashamed.
They cover a multitude of sins, and when
they’re full of all they’ve seen, they burst.
When clouds part, good things happen:
a streak of sunlight dividing the sky
into two delicious pieces of blueberry pie,
a Jacob’s ladder, a holy dove,
a sign from up above that says
We’re having a party and everyone’s invited.

Clouds have such lovely, comforting names,
cirrus, nimbus, stratus, cumulus,
bestowed by the Quaker chemist Luke Howard (1772-1864).
But you can’t count on clouds.
You don’t know how they’ll vote.
Whether they’ll dissipate before election day,
float far away from the polling places,
or what winds they’ll let themselves be steered by.
You can’t shop for a cloud.
A cloud’s trouser size differs from day to day.
You can’t bring a cloud in for show-and-tell.
You can’t give a cloud a proper burial.
You can’t afford to let a cloud enter your door.
It will camp out over your head.
It will eat your memories.
It will affect your judgment.
It will cruelly enact what is happening
little by little, to each of us.

by tom c. hunley


Ash said...

You know, of course, that you're like my favorite poet, don't you? Post more of your own stuff, pretty please.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Great poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Bob Hoeppner said...

Perhaps it could be trimmed with no detriment, but some good things are in there. Thanks for reposting it.

SarahJane said...

Hi Ash -
so nice to see you. i really like your blog.

I'm glad you like it, Sharon.

Bob, check out Tom's sample poems at his website. I found them all very refreshing.

KL said...

Oh! I love his sample poems. The "Himself" poem is very entertaining.
Nice and clever poetry.

Related Posts with Thumbnails