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Poems About Clouds

Table of Contents

Cloud Study, 1822
Cloud Study, 1822
by John Constable
  1. Boats Sail on the Rivers by Christina Rossetti
  2. The Clouds by Anonymous
  3. The Cloud by John Wilson
  4. The Cloud by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  5. The Cloud Baskets by Anonymous
  6. To a Cloud by William Cullen Bryant
  7. Clouds by John Brainard
  8. A Legacy by John B. Tabb
  9. In Cloudy Weather by Ruby Archer
  10. A Little Cloud by Ruby Archer
  11. A Lament by John B. Tabb
  12. My Cloud by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  13. Clouds by Frank Dempster Sherman

  1. The Rainbow

    by Christina Rossetti

    Boats sail on the rivers,
    And ships sail on the seas;
    But clouds that sail across the sky
    Are prettier far than these.

    There are bridges on the rivers,
    As pretty as you please;
    But the bow that bridges heaven,
    And overtops the trees,
    And builds a road from earth to sky,
    Is prettier far than these.

  2. The Clouds

    by Anonymous

    "Clouds that wander through the sky,
    Sometimes low and sometimes high;
    In the darkness of the night,
    In the sunshine warm and bright.
    Ah! I wonder much if you
    Have any useful work to do."

    "Yes, we're busy night and day,
    As o'er the earth we take our way.
    We are bearers of the rain
    To the grasses, and flowers, and grain;
    We guard you from the sun's bright rays,
    In the sultry summer days."

  3. The Cloud

    by John Wilson

    A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
    A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow;
    Long had I watched the glory moving on,
    O'er the still radiance of the lake below:
    Tranquil its spirit seemed, and floated slow,
    E'en in its very motion there was rest,
    While every breath of eve that chanced to blow,
    Wafted the traveler to the beauteous west.

    Emblem, methought, of the departed soul,
    To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given,
    And by the breath of mercy made to roll
    Right onward to the golden gate of heaven,
    While to the eye of faith it peaceful lies,
    And tells to man his glorious destinies.

  4. The Cloud

    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
    From the seas and the streams;
    I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
    In their noonday dreams.
    From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
    The sweet buds every one,
    When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
    As she dances about the sun.
    I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
    And whiten the green plains under,
    And then again I dissolve it in rain,
    And laugh as I pass in thunder.

    I sift the snow on the mountains below,
    And their great pines groan aghast;
    And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
    While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
    Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
    Lightning my pilot sits;
    In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
    It struggles and howls at fits;
    Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
    This pilot is guiding me,
    Lured by the love of the genii that move
    In the depths of the purple sea;
    Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
    Over the lakes and the plains,
    Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
    The Spirit he loves remains;
    And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
    Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

    The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
    And his burning plumes outspread,
    Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
    When the morning star shines dead;
    As on the jag of a mountain crag,
    Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
    An eagle alit one moment may sit
    In the light of its golden wings.
    And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
    Its ardours of rest and of love,
    And the crimson pall of eve may fall
    From the depth of Heaven above,
    With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
    As still as a brooding dove.

    That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
    Whom mortals call the Moon,
    Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
    By the midnight breezes strewn;
    And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
    Which only the angels hear,
    May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
    The stars peep behind her and peer;
    And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
    Like a swarm of golden bees,
    When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
    Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
    Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
    Are each paved with the moon and these.

    I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
    And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
    The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
    When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
    From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
    Over a torrent sea,
    Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
    The mountains its columns be.
    The triumphal arch through which I march
    With hurricane, fire, and snow,
    When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
    Is the million-coloured bow;
    The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
    While the moist Earth was laughing below.

    I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
    And the nursling of the Sky;
    I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
    I change, but I cannot die.
    For after the rain when with never a stain
    The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
    And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
    Build up the blue dome of air,
    I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
    And out of the caverns of rain,
    Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
    I arise and unbuild it again.

  5. The Cloud Baskets

    by Anonymous

    Clouds that hide the sun with showers
    Are wet baskets full of flowers.

    One is packed with poppies bright,
    One with lillies inward white.

    One, that takes a day to pass,
    Bulges out with blades of grass.

    One's a mass of roses red;
    One, a crowded pansy-bed.

    Yonder cloud, so sullen dull,
    Of golden buttercups is full.

    Its neighbor cloud, an ashen gray,
    Glows within with daisies gay.

    Not a cloud whose rain we rue
    But is crammed with flowers too.

    So I know the darkest cloud,
    Creeping gloomy as a shroud,

    Brings to me, all unconfessed,
    Just the flowers I love the best.

  6. To a Cloud

    by William Cullen Bryant

    Beautiful cloud! with folds so soft and fair,
    Swimming in the pure quiet air!
    Thy fleeces bathed in sunlight, while below
    Thy shadow o'er the vale moves slow;
    Where, midst their labour, pause the reaper train
    As cool it comes along the grain.

    Beautiful cloud! I would I were with thee
    In thy calm way o'er land and sea:
    To rest on thy unrolling skirts, and look
    On Earth as on an open book;
    On streams that tie her realms with silver bands,
    And the long ways that seam her lands;
    And hear her humming cities, and the sound
    Of the great ocean breaking round.
    Ay—I would sail upon thy air-borne car
    To blooming regions distant far,
    To where the sun of Andalusia shines
    On his own olive-groves and vines,
    Or the soft lights of Italy's bright sky
    In smiles upon her ruins lie.
    But I would woo the winds to let us rest
    O'er Greece long fettered and oppressed,
    Whose sons at length have heard the call that comes
    From the old battle-fields and tombs,
    And risen, and drawn the sword, and on the foe
    Have dealt the swift and desperate blow,
    And the Othman power is cloven, and the stroke
    Has touched its chains, and they are broke.
    Ay, we would linger till the sunset there
    Should come, to purple all the air,
    And thou reflect upon the sacred ground
    The ruddy radiance streaming round.

    Bright meteor! for the summer noontide made!
    Thy peerless beauty yet shall fade.
    The sun, that fills with light each glistening fold,
    Shall set, and leave thee dark and cold:
    The blast shall rend thy skirts, or thou may'st frown
    In the dark heaven when storms come down,
    And weep in rain, till man's inquiring eye
    Miss thee, forever from the sky.

  7. Clouds

    by John Brainard

    Ye clouds, who are the ornament of heaven,
    Who give to it its gayest shadowings,
    And its most awful glories; ye who roll
    In the dark tempest, or at dewy evening
    Hang low in tenderest beauty; ye who, ever
    Changing your Protean aspects, now are gather'd,
    Like fleecy piles, when the mid sun is brightest,
    Even in the height of heaven, and there repose,

    Solemnly calm, without a visible motion,
    Hour after hour, looking upon the earth
    With a serenest smile: or ye who rather,
    Heap'd in those sulphury masses, heavily
    Jutting above their bases, like the smoke
    Poured from a furnace or a roused volcano,
    Stand on the dun horizon, threatening
    Lightning and storm; who, lifted from the hills.
    March onward to the zenith, ever darkening,
    And heaving into more gigantic towers
    And mountainous piles of blackness; who then roar
    With the collected winds within your womb,
    Or the far uttered thunders; who ascend
    Swifter and swifter, till wide overhead
    Your vanguards curl and toss upon the tempest
    Like the stirred ocean on a reef of rocks
    Just topping o'er its waves, while deep below
    The pregnant mass of vapour and of flame
    Rolls with an awful pomp, and grimly lowers,
    Seeming to the struck eye of fear the car
    Of an offended spirit, whose swart features
    Glare through the sooty darkness, fired with vengeance,
    And ready with uplifted hand to smite
    And scourge a guilty nation; ye who lie,
    After the storm is over, far away,
    Crowning the drippling forests with the arch
    Of beauty, such as lives alone in heaven,
    Bright daughter of the sun, bending around
    From mountain unto mountain like the wreath
    Of victory, or like a banner telling
    Of joy and gladness; ye who round the moon
    Assemble, when she sits in the mid sky
    In perfect brightness, and encircle her
    With a fair wreath of all aërial dyes;
    Ye who, thus hovering round her, shine like mountains
    Whose tops are never darken'd, but remain,
    Centuries and countless ages, reared for temples
    Of purity and light; or ye who crowd
    To hail the newborn day, and hang for him,
    Above his ocean couch, a canopy
    Of all inimitable hues and colours,
    Such as are only pencill'd by the hands
    Of the unseen ministers of earth and air,
    Seen only in the tinting of the clouds,
    And the soft shadowing of plumes and flowers
    Or ye who, following in his funeral train,
    Light up your torches at his sepulchre,
    And open on us through the clefted hills
    Far glances into glittering worlds beyond
    The twilight of the grave, where all is light,
    Golden and glorious light, too full and high
    For mortal eye to gaze on, stretching out
    Brighter and ever brighter, till it spread,
    Like one wide radiant ocean without bounds,
    One infinite sea of glory: Thus, ye clouds,
    And in innumerable other shapes
    Of greatness or of beauty, ye attend us,
    To give to the wide arch above us Life
    And all its changes. Thus it is to us
    A volume full of wisdom, but without ye
    One awful uniformity had ever,
    With too severe a majesty, oppress'd us.

  8. A Legacy

    by John B. Tabb

    Do you remember, little cloud,
    This morning when you lay—
    A mist along the river—what
    The waters had to say?

    And how the many-coloured flowers
    That on the margin grew,
    All promised when the day was done
    To leave their tints to you?

  9. In Cloudy Weather

    by Ruby Archer

    Where is my halcyon blue?
    The grudging sky is overcast.
    Where is my dowering sun?
    A glory past.

    Nay, soul, thy daily sky
    Unfading spirit light must win,
    Dark days thy sunshine glow
    Ah bright within!

  10. A Little Cloud

    by Ruby Archer

    A little cloud stood lonely
    Amid the evening sky;
    Doubting and fearful waiting there,—
    No other cloudlet nigh.

    Poor faint and weakling timid lamb
    Far wandered from the fold,
    The shepherd never missed at all,—
    Forgotten in the cold.

    My cloudlet wavered on the blue,
    The heaven-meadow scanned
    For hope of any cloudy friend
    With misty, beckoning hand;

    A moment longer waited,
    Abandoned by the day;
    Then, like a little spirit cloud,
    He faded quite away.

  11. A Lament

    by John B. Tabb

    "O lady cloud, why are you weeping?" I said.
    "Because," she made answer, "my rain-beau is dead."

  12. Clouds

    by Rupert Brooke

    Down the blue night the unending columns press
    In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
    Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
    Up to the white moon's hidden loveliness.
    Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
    And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
    As who would pray good for the world, but know
    Their benediction empty as they bless.

    They say that the Dead die not, but remain
    Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
    I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
    In wise majestic melancholy train,
    And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
    And men, coming and going on the earth.

  13. My Cloud

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    There's a cloud on my life’s horizon
    wonderful shape and hue,
    Like the feathery down of a snow-drift
    ’Tis dimpled with changeful blue.
    I gaze on its shadowy outline
    And drink in the calm of the skies,
    Till I fancy it floats out of heaven,
    As an angel in disguise.

    No slumbering storm in its bosom,
    No hint of the lightning’s glare,
    Only a feast for the heart and soul
    Is this treasure of the air;
    For I know from its silvery edges,
    And glimpses of hidden gold,
    That a picture of rare tranquility
    Its tender depths enfold.

    Else whence is this mystic feeling
    Of peace that’s stealing o’er me?
    Like the magic of summer moonlight
    Enchanting a restless sea.
    O! heavenly cloud! why are you
    So calm? so angelic you seem,
    My spirit escapes in its longing—
    I am lost in a beautiful dream.

    Up, up on the wings of a swallow
    Piercing the heaven’s deep blue,
    O’er meadow and mount I am rising,
    And floating, sweet spirit, to you;
    Onward, in trance I am wafted,
    Now into the cloudlet above;
    And a face smiles out from its drapery,
    And ah! ’tis a face that I love.

  14. Clouds

    by Frank Dempster Sherman

    The sky is full of clouds to-day,
    And idly, to and fro,
    Like sheep across the pasture, they
    Across the heavens go.
    I hear the wind with merry noise
    Around the housetops sweep,
    And dream it is the shepherd boys,—
    They're driving home their sheep.

    The clouds move faster now; and see!
    The west is red and gold.
    Each sheep seems hastening to be
    The first within the fold.
    I watch them hurry on until
    The blue is clear and deep,
    And dream that far beyond the hill
    The shepherds fold their sheep.

    Then in the sky the trembling stars
    Like little flowers shine out,
    While Night puts up the shadow bars,
    And darkness falls about.