The Might of an Ephemeral Cloud
Standing on a hill’s summit
In high summer’s heat
All colours below seem flattened to a pastel palette
Faded and deadened by searing sunlight.
But it takes just the passing of a cloud
For village colours to waken and blossom,
Trees to stretch and breathe,
Rivers and hollows, mounds and forests
To leap into a life of abundant greens
Refreshed by the cloud’s shadow
Which is sliding down golden fields
Vaulting over tangled hedgerows
Chasing flocks and herds and boys on bicycles.
Nature’s dimmer-switch – the cloud –
Turns down the glare, the heat
And as its shadow runs and rises, soars and clusters
It caresses the earth’s miraculous face
And I see the might a cloud possesses.
Then later, lazing in the sun’s heat,
Reluctant to step out of it
Wanting, hopelessly, to store the glory
To get me through the poverty of winter,
That lies In wait like a cruel joke.
I know that this time of excess,
Of gorging on sultriness and light,
Will not rise vibrant in my memory.
I will forget the ease and comfort of a body
Relaxed by warmth and long-lit days,
As muscles and mind tighten in the numbing cold
And shortened days turn people inwards.
What I will remember is that instant
When the cloud, frail and transitory
Passing beneath the sun
Stemmed the great fire’s force
And I felt, and saw, the more powerful might
Of a thin, ephemeral cloud…
© Jacqueline Mai. 2009.