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Flying Lesson: Clouds by Dolores Hayden

The clouds in a race across the sky over Eagle, Idaho, US. © Suzan Bunting

Flying Lesson: Clouds by Dolores Hayden

Exuberance, poems by Dolores Hayden, member 48,618, celebrates the early years of aviation and includes the poem, “Flying Lesson: Clouds,” that first appeared in Poetry magazine.

Flying Lesson: Clouds

Focus on the shapes: cirrus, a curl,
stratus, a layer, cumulus, a heap.

Humilis, a small cloud,
cumulus humilis, a fine day to fly.

Incus, the anvil, stay grounded.
Nimbus, rain, be careful,

don’t take off near nimbostratus,
a shapeless layer

of rain, hail, ice, or snow.
Ice weighs on the blades

of your propeller, weighs
on the entering edge

of your wings. Read a cloud,
decode it, a dense, chilly mass

can shift, flood with light.
Watch for clouds closing under you:

the sky opens in a breath,
shuts in a heartbeat.

3 Comments
  • Dolores Hayden Hayden avatar

    Dolores Hayden

    January 3, 2020at4:56 pm

    Exuberance (Red Hen Press, 2019), my newest book of poems, includes “Flying Lesson: Clouds.”

  • Adam Laceky avatar

    Adam Laceky

    January 8, 2020at9:36 pm

    Excellent. I wish I had written it.

  • Mark Allerton avatar

    DingoSwampHead

    June 2, 2020at2:47 am

    Useful warnings!

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