Thursday, July 3, 2008

Clouds


I'm working on a new book of poems, tentively entitled Fargo, 1957. It chronicles (in elegaic form) the tornado that struck Fargo, North Dakota on June 20, 1957. My mother's cousin, Betty Lou Titgen, was critically injured (she died in Janaru 1960 without ever gained consciousness), while her husband, Don, and nine others died that day, with another victim dying on July 16. Here's one of the poems from the new collection:


Clouds

“…in a vacuum of time
you might suddenly know this:
that the sky where it ends does not end
and you will pass its horizon
.”
--Richard Hugo


We know clouds
in this place.

There is nothing--
not land

or grass
or sound--

as familiar to us
as clouds.

We watch them
as they form,

grow pregnant above us
and then roll away.

And, in our way,
we cherish them

the way others
cherish

mountains
or oceans.

We name them
and find

the features they form
familiar.

We fear them
too

even when
we see them

growing heavy
and dark

for miles
across the flatness

before they roll
toward us,

growling
and hurling

flashes of light.
And the next day

when the skies
clear and clouds--

lighter and
more comforting--

appear, we
cherish them

all even
more.

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