This Bridge, Like Poetry, Is Vertigo

In a time of dearth bring forth number, weight, & measure.--William Blake

Describing the wind that drives it, cloud
rides between earth and space. Cloud
shields earth from sun-scorch. Cloud
bursts to cure earth's thirst.      Cloud
--airy, wet, photogenic--
is a bridge or go-between;
it does as it is done by.
It condenses. It evaporates.
It draws seas up, rains down.
I do love the drift of clouds.
Cloud-love is irresistible,
untypical, uninfinite.
 

Deep above the linear city this morning
the cloud's soft bulk is almost unmoving.
The winds it rides are thin;
it makes them visible.
As sun hits it or if sun
quits us it's blown away
or rains itself or snows itself away.
It is indefinite:

This dawns on me: no cloud is measurable.
Make mine cloud.
Make mind cloud.

The clarity of cloud is in its edgelessness,
its each instant of edge involving
in formal invention, always
at liberty, at it, incessantly altering.

A lucky watcher will catch it
as it makes big moves:
up the line of sight it lifts
until it conjugates or
           dissipates,
its unidentical being    intact
though it admits flyers.
It lets in wings. It lets them go.
It lets them.
It embraces mountains & spires built
to be steadfast; as it goes on
it lets go of them.
                 It is not willing.
                  It is not unwilling.

Late at night when my outdoors is
indoors, I picture clouds again:
                   Come to mind, cloud.
                   Come to cloud, mind.

Published in the 2005-02-11 issue: 
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Marie Ponsot recently received the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry, given annually by Sewanee Review. In 2013, she was awarded the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement by the Poetry Foundation. Her Collected Poems was published in August by Knopf.

Also by this author
Poem | Air Waves

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