Always the Clouds

JMW Turner, “Norham Castle Sunrise

 

 

Always the clouds come, drifting

colored in the hazy shades of ever-after,

yet distant stars glimmer through, sifting

light diffused from ancient gas and matter,

 

colored in the hazy shades of ever-after

time travels on, translucent or opaque

light diffused from ancient gas and matter,

and so, we ache

 

as time travels on. Translucent or opaque,

our thoughts grow dimmer to dark,

and so, we ache—

forgetting glory, gone our spark.

 

Our thoughts grow dimmer to dark

muttering and sputtering of past wrongs,

forgetting glory. Gone the spark

of former days and daisy chains and songs.

 

Muttering and sputtering of past wrongs,

we dream in owl-feathered night

of former days and daisy chains and songs–

then wait for lark-trilled light.

 

We dream in owl-feathered night,

as distant stars glimmer through, sifting

(our thoughts) as we wait for lark-trilled light,

but always the clouds come, drifting.

 

 

This is for Peter’s prompt on dVerse. He’s asked us to think about sound. Kerfe had me thinking of pantoums, and so I revised one that I wrote in April.

60 thoughts on “Always the Clouds

  1. This is such a beautiful piece.

    “our thoughts grow dimmer to dark,

    and so, we ache—

    forgetting glory, gone our spark.”

    I feel like this delves into what happens when one obsesses over their past failures or wrongs. This progresses with the person’s thoughts turning darker, thus depressing the narrator whose spark is gone, and their thrive diminishing. They dream of the better things, perhaps the “could have beens” or the “what once was”:

    “we dream in owl-feathered night

    of former days and daisy chains and songs–

    then wait for lark-trilled light.”

    Then ending with “but always the clouds come, drifting” the narrator is accepting this darkness as the truth of their reality. I could be totally wrong about this poem, but these were just my thoughts on this brilliant and marvelous piece. Amazing writing, as always, Merril.

    • Thank you so much for your amazing thoughtful comment, Lucy! I wasn’t writing it with the thought of it being about someone obsessing over their past failures, but it certainly could be. The original version included some prompt lines, which I changed. But I saw it was written about a week before my mom died (and my cat) in one horrible pandemic April week, so there’s definitely some feeling of darkness seeping in.

  2. This is gorgeous, gorgeous writing, Merril! 💝 I especially love; “We dream in owl-feathered night, as distant stars glimmer through, sifting (our thoughts).”💝

      • Aww. Do you think there really was an owl, or do you think she dreamt about it? I seldom hear owls, but last year one night before my mom had moved, we were out late because she was in the ER. When we got home, there was an owl hooting for the longest time.

      • You know, it’s interesting because before she developed Alzheimer’s she told me stories about the “hoot owl” that used to scare her as a child. Apparently there was one outside her window. I wonder if she’s dreaming about that. My father said he never hears this owl she talks about now, but then again, he needs a hearing aide!

      • Oh, that’s interesting. It sounds like maybe it was something from her imagination. In her last few months, my mom would have totally normal conversations–she had stroke-related dementia, not Alzheimers–but then she’d say something like she had a cat that jumped out the window, or all the fantasy stories about my father. The mind is a strange thing!

  3. Fantastic! – a great pantoum – singing and shifting and echoing. Thanks also for your excellent reading – and the sounds – muttering/sputtering; days and daisy chains; hazy shades. Both hemispheres -sound and sense – blooming here. Thank you.

  4. Your pantoum works very well, giving us rhyme and refrain in equal measure. Acceptance and accommodation are certainly essential to a healthy world view.

  5. I like the repeating lines. Hearing you read, they sound almost like deja vu as the person struggles, looking for some kind of resolution. I like the cyclicity of it, as it is the nature of things.

  6. I love that you chose Turner’s painting to illustrate your poem, Merril – it goes so well with ‘light diffused from ancient gas and matter’ – and the repetition gives it a feeling of floating or drifting. I also love the lines:
    ‘we dream in owl-feathered night
    of former days and daisy chains and songs–
    then wait for lark-trilled light’.

  7. Glorious! Everything about it, words, images, painting. But I’m sure you guessed I’d like this, owl-feathered and lark-trilled and those drifting clouds.
    I recognised your voice too, though I’ve never heard it before. Strange but not strange 🙂

  8. I thought this was a pantoum! I’m liking this form more and more. Your use of it in this poem is particuarly affecting. I’m hearing echoes of “The Love Song of J. Alfread Prufrock.”

    The refrain that’s reverberating in my head is “but always the clouds come, drifting.” So many painful experiences just drift randomly into our lives.

    It was such a treat to hear your voice reading the poem!

  9. First off… how wonderful to hear your voice read this beautiful pantoum
    I’m with Jane – Glorious! From beginning to end and I agree with Sarah, this flows so gracefully, nothing forced.

  10. I love that comment above from Dora about each phrase beautifully formed. There is a strong cadence to this poem, and the sense of the clouds drifting in again and again… the heavy fog of aches and pains is hard to avoid. I love the daisy chains and remembrances of simpler times…the deep aches are real, but so are the memories of carefree moments.

  11. What a beautiful recording of your luscious, lush, though mournful pantoum. The words and the rhythm match. Owl-feathered night – oh my. But thankfully there is still the lark-filled light. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you! What made you decide to record this? Will you do more recordings/ You have a soft lilting voice.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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