Clouds & Fire, Shadow & Smoke

On walk a week or so ago I was observing and pondering different phenomena of the world around me, letting myself try and understand forms of being, entities of energy that are alien in their expression of existence, but in their own ways alive . . .

I followed the clouds
scudding across the summer blue sky
chased the shapeshifters unsurpassed
moving clumsily in comparison
unable to glide
from field to pathway
to landscapes shorn of grass
to the road
though fields studded
with black wrapped
silage bales waiting
immobile
the grasses and flowers
unable to sway or bend
in the breezes
unable any longer to breathe.

The clouds moved ambushing the sun
turning day to dusk
and magicking away shadows,
those deceivers of form
who lengthen and shorten
from hour to hour,
who blinked out
and as soon winked back
into sight once more.

Clouds and shadows
playing
each with the sun
using greys and white
light and darkness
as pawns in a game
seeking and hiding
teasing the spirits
tempting me to follow,
irresistible
in variants of grey,
so many and only one word
to span the space
between white and black
mixtures of both in degrees
of intensity and neither
at the same time.

All the while
so many words for beige:
ecru and sand,
oatmeal and stone,
tan and taupe,
but only a single word
for the shades and subtly
of tone and concentration
for all those colours
strung in space
where white and black
mingle but do not meet
cannot connect in
absence and presence untinted.

I chased the clouds in wonder
and followed them amazed,
until I turned a corner
and found a fire,
dancing danger
in the orange shards
that have no form
but possess for an instant shape
melding and fracturing
in ceaseless motion,
reckless restless gestures,
flickering and twisting,
contorted flame throwing heat
producing waves of distortion
the hedge behind
shimmering into invisibility.

Rough pieces of flame
tearing from the firebase
like bits of fabric
carelessly tossed aside
the conflagration mesmerising
daring me to watch
taunting me lest I turn away,
transfixed I am unable
to move when a sudden shift
brings a moment of wind
that calls forth smoke
to join the fire in its
flirtatious dance
and as it seems to see me
it overtakes me
and I am wreathed
in the visible choking scent
dry wood and drier grass.

Then as suddenly as it joined
the dance the smoke cleared
leaving only the flames
visible to me,
rising high extending
breaking free the escape
gravity’s pull vanishing into
emptiness
not bound by the forces
holding me earthbound
keeping me together,
still the frenzied dervish
of red yellow blue
spins and twists
reaching forth as if
to grab the clouds above my head,
yet the fire cannot
for all its mad straining
span that space before
vanishing angry and unsubdued
until its food runs down
and only frustrated embers
remain when flame and raging
are only memories
and the clouds
have shifted shape
a thousand times
and shadows in their turn
receded.

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2 thoughts on “Clouds & Fire, Shadow & Smoke

  1. Evocative interplay between sun, cloud and shadow here. I’d never thought before about the lack of shades of grey, although I guess the title ’50 Shades of Grey’ draws on this?… Maybe we need to invent some!

    • Thank you Lorna, I just now saw your comment. That should be a fun exercise. A friend in Boston said once she thought it would be fun having the job to name lipstick colours . . . I think your idea sounds lots better!

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