Enter a Cloud

By W. S. Graham 1918–1986
1
 
Gently disintegrate me
Said nothing at all.
 
Is there still time to say
Said I myself lying
In a bower of bramble
Into which I have fallen.
 
Look through my eyes up
At blue with not anything
We could have ever arranged
Slowly taking place.
 
Above the spires of the fox
Gloves and above the bracken
Tops with their young heads
Recognising the wind,
The armies of the empty
Blue press me further
Into Zennor Hill.
 
If I half-close my eyes
The spiked light leaps in
And I am here as near
Happy as I will get
In the sailing afternoon.
 
 
    2
 
Enter a cloud. Between
The head of Zennor and
Gurnard’s Head the long
Marine horizon makes
A blue wall or is it
A distant table-top
Of the far-off simple sea.
 
Enter a cloud. O cloud,
I see you entering from
Your west gathering yourself
Together into a white
Headlong. And now you move
And stream out of the Gurnard,
The west corner of my eye.
 
Enter a cloud. The cloud’s
Changing shape is crossing
Slowly only an inch
Above the line of the sea.
Now nearly equidistant
Between Zennor and Gurnard’s
Head, an elongated
White anvil is sailing
Not wanting to be a symbol.
 
 
    3
 
Said nothing at all.
 
And proceeds with no idea
Of destination along
The sea bearing changing
Messages. Jean in London,
Lifting a cup, looking
Abstractedly out through
Her Hampstead glass will never
Be caught by your new shape
Above the chimneys. Jean,
Jean, do you not see
This cloud has been thought of
And written on Zennor Hill.


    4

The cloud is going beyond
What I can see or make.
Over up-country maybe
Albert Strick stops and waves
Caught in the middle of teeling
Broccoli for the winter.
The cloud is not there yet.

From Gurnard's Head to Zennor
Head the level line
Crosses my eyes lying
On buzzing Zennor Hill.

The cloud is only a wisp
And gone behind the Head.
It is funny I got the sea's
Horizontal slightly surrealist.
Now when I raise myself
Out of the bracken I see
The long empty blue
Between the fishing Gurnard
And Zennor. It was a cloud
The language at my time's
Disposal made use of.


    5

Thank you. And for your applause.
It has been a pleasure. I
Have never enjoyed speaking more.
May I also thank the real ones
Who have made this possible.
First, the cloud itself. And now
Gurnard's Head and Zennor
Head. Also recognise
How I have been helped
By Jean and Madron's Albert
Strick (He is a real man.)
And good words like brambles,
Bower, spiked, fox, anvil, teeling.

The bees you heard are from
A hive owned by my friend
Garfield down there below
In the house by Zennor Church.

The good blue sun is pressing
Me into Zennor Hill.

Gently disintegrate me
Said nothing at all.

W. S. Graham, "Enter a Cloud" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1980 by W. S. Graham. Reprinted by permission of The Estate of W.S. Graham.

Source: (Ecco Press, 1980)

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Poet W. S. Graham 1918–1986

POET’S REGION Scotland

Subjects Living, The Mind, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life

Biography

W. S. Graham was born to a working-class family in Scotland and grew up in Clydeside, where he worked as an engineer. He traveled to London and New York City, then returned to spend the rest of his adult life in Cornwall where his associates included many of the post-war British artists. Graham's first collection of poetry, Cage without Grievance, was published in 1942. It was followed by The Seven Journeys (1944), 2nd Poems . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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