Eleven Ways of Looking at Clouds

 

Jill Spealman

 

I

At dawn Monet’s ephemeral cloudlets,

gray on peach, float adagio.

Lying on the floor, you notice and comment.

 

II

Cotton cumulus clouds;

summer puffs drift,

build.

Fair or fierce?

 

III

Yellow clouds hover over Shanghai.

Light scatters

fueling a sunset of fumes.

 

IV

Ethereal brushstrokes,

cirrus clouds of fine frozen filaments—

mares' tails and mackerel scales.

 

V

In Gram’s watery eye

a lifetime of skies kaleidoscope;

summer clouds outnumbered by steely winter ones.

 

VI

A white slash;

a false cloud bisects the blue.

Jill Spealman

 

VII

Sediment clouds the water.

The newly freed river

reflects mist and firs.

 

VIII

In the parched West

brown clouds shroud mountains;

lives lost in the cruel heat.

 

IX

Sooty clouds of black

race brittle leaves across the harvest moon;

charcoal on crumbling newsprint.

 

X

A blanket of clouds comforts the vast lake.

A long fetch builds,

a blizzard rages to the south.

 

XI

Morning clouds, impermanent in the soft light;

free spirited,

the face of the sky an open book.