Thursday, 5 February 2015

Day 932: Essay on Clouds

' clouds are not about about...'
Don't you just love clouds? Watching, describing and even muse-making them? 

I do. And I just love this poem from The New Yorker last week - a  poem that adds more conjecture to the canon of cloud poetry, while cleverly comparing us to them in the doing. The result: a wafting philosophical meditation on ourselves, via our fluffy canopy.

Essay on Clouds - James Richardson

Maybe a whale,  
as Hamlet mused, or a camel or weasel,  
more likely a hill,

or many hills (with clouds,
as with us, true singletons are rare).  
Mostly we compare them

to silent things, sensing
that thunder is something else
that gets into thema stone, a god

and, as for what they want to say, aeromancy, 
which presumed to interpret,  
never caught on. After all,

clouds weren’t reliable predictors
even of rain, and if they had a message  
for us, we guessed,

it would hardly be practical:  
clouds are not about  
about, showing instead
boundless detail without specificity.  
Whales, sure (which might in turn be  
blue clouds), but we don’t say

How very like a screwdriver,  
or my house, or my uncle, or certainly
how unlike my uncle. For though a blend

of winds we don’t at our level  
necessarily feel lends them
amazing motion, that’s not the same as

intention, so failure
is not in question. We wouldn’t say  
That cloud is derivative, jejune,

disproportionate, strained, in the wrong place,  
or (since they affirm nothing)  
That cloud is wrong,

though truly they often bear down
on exactly the wrong momentthat overcast,  
is it one cloud or ten thousand

that makes everything feel so gray
forever? From inside, of coursethink  
of flying through one

a cloud has no shape. As with us: only  
when someone looks hard, or we catch  
our reflections, do we solidify as


and plummet. Large clouds can weigh  
more than a 747, yet not one
has ever crashed, so admirably

do they spread their weight, a gift
it is not too much to hope  
we could possess, since according to Porchia

we are clouds: If I were stone  
and not cloud, my thoughts,  
which are wind, would abandon me. O

miracle not miraculous! Everything  
we know well  
lightens and escapes us, and isn’t that

when we escape? So, just as  
Old and Middle English clūd  
meant rock or hill, but now

means cloud, really I mean
in exactly the same way that stone  
got over being stone

and rose, we rise.


  1. Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine! See the link below for more info.


  2. Difficult roads often leads to beautiful destinations. :)


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