Witnessing Clouds

Jim Price and I have never met, but we are friends, brought together by temperament and indefinables. I know him as a gifted writer, for one thing. Yesterday he sent me an email saying, “In response to your blog entry today, here’s a poem I wrote years ago about clouds. A spell of clouds is a group, like a flock of birds. It may be the only word I’ve coined, but I like the sound of it.”



A spell of clouds, guardians of the sky,

have gathered in sacred council.

How shall they execute the Earth’s will?

A child-god is experimenting with creation,

scribbling poetry on a canvas of blue.

The gates of movement are preparing for change.

Behold the potential of clouds and mind.


Rain could just fall naked

from an ever blue sky,

but the spirit of rain would have no home,

and we would lose our contemplated projections.


Rainwater and mind meet

in these chaotic cloud forms,

a near daily litany that most people ignore.


If clouds were more rare,

like aurora borealis,

we would line up with our cameras,

sit on lawn chairs in anticipation of their arrival.


If even more rare,

like a total eclipse of the sun,

we would travel great distances,

rent expensive hotel rooms,

wear “Cloud Sighting” T-shirts,

wrap our lives, for a moment,

into the mystery.


Because clouds are that beautiful,

not just for poets and children.

They are the planet’s gift,

recycled water in marriage with sky,

the spirit of an emotional world.


One thought on “Witnessing Clouds

  1. Frank,

    In responce to your March 12 blog entry and Jim Price’s poem, whose title I hope will be “Spell of Clouds”, I’m encluding my poem “The Dialogue” ( previously published ), also on the theme of the natural elements and our consciousness of them, a subject that, as you know, I adopted as a side-vocation back in the ’70s. Few people know, however, that there is a theory, to be explained on my website, that when a script has a word or two referring directly to a physical element, the brain has an easier time “groking” the script’s content and connecting with the items referred to. Jim’s poem–a semantic feast for that part of our consciousness that is so hungry for communion with nature–demonstrates the theory, as does my poem below. The theory of multiple intelligences is a major piece of “The” theory that I will someday explain at my site.

    Personally, it’s encouraging to find other souls using poetry to connect to the natural world. I hope that Jim will allow me to post his poem at my site once I get to posting such poems for my readers. Could you broker a connection?

    I’d like to share too, as I believe that most of your readers are writers/readers of the literatti sort, that “The Dialogue” is a poem that was 25 years in the finishing, the first 4 stanzas written in the ’60s and the last 4 in the late ’80s, both in a 20 minute flash of insight; essentially by two different personalities. Still, there is a content and a semantic/syntax parallelism of stanzas: 1-5, 2-6, 3-7, and 4-8, which to be truthful, I did not see in the ’80s. Today, I use it (in educational contexts) as a two-paned window for environmental and natural phenomena, and personal spiritual unfoldment. When the audience is mixed, I present the poem in two columns to make the parallelism easier to see; when the audience enjoys digging, one column will do. It was this poem, I believe, that got me the Visiting Artist slot at UVA’s Summer Writing Program in 1990, which got me to Charlottesville, which lead to…..well….you know the rest…

    Words do make a difference in the quality of life.

    best wishes, clay


    The Dialogue

    Said the drip to the drop,
    In precipitous sorrow,
    We’re air today
    And fog tomorrow.

    In the blink of a sky
    We’re all wa’shed down.
    Not even a gutter
    To lead us around.

    So what’s the use?
    It’s all in a breeze
    Whether we wet
    Or whether we freeze.

    I’d rather be solid
    Like a grain of sand,
    To measure time
    Or scour a pan.

    Stop, said the drop.
    Why cry to me?
    I fly with the clouds.
    I flow to the sea.

    I wash every street.
    I clean every dish.
    In the well of the town,
    I hear every wish.

    In engines of fire,
    Wheels turn when I push.
    And on cold winter days,
    Kids slide with a whoosh.

    So what can you do
    For goodness’s sake?
    You can do what I can’t.
    Keep people awake.

    © 1996 Clay Moldenhauer : fivelements.net

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.