Not one but three cloud poems by Juris Kronbergs, reproduced by kind permission of the author and Emma Press, and translated by Mara Rozitis & Richard O’Brien.
It’s easy for clouds
It’s easy for clouds to play pretend!
But they don’t ever
do it to offend.
It’s just such heavenly fun, or so I’m told:
Never gets old!
I don’t know how,
but clouds can change
from their own selves to something strange:
a snake, a cake, a crow,
a crown, a car, a calf,
half a giraffe, a cart,
a carton or a tart.
I once knew a cloud
that turned into a song,
with a maudlin cloudy chorus.
It was so moved
as it crooned its tune,
tears welled up
till the cloud cried itself out.
In encyclopedias you can read,
if you desire, the names of clouds:
they’re very strange indeed.
Now listen, and I’ll tell you what
each cloud is for, from dark to white,
and what they want:
With Feather clouds
long ago clouds wrote poems and prose
Lamb’s wool clouds
line nightgowns and cloud-covers
Veil clouds are needed at weddings by brides
or if there’s something they have to hide
High-heap clouds are
stacks of cloudstraw
Shelf clouds are all found high up
on cloudcastle walls
Rainclouds are what clouds wear in showers:
their coats, the way cagoules are ours.
Heap clouds rarely sleep,
but bounce and bob and leapfrog,
navel-gazing at the cloudfluff
in their bellybuttons.
Thunderclouds police the skies
And Snowclouds shovel snowdrifts
from the streets and squares of cloudtowns.
What can clouds teach us?
Not much. Just this:
that fast or slow,
changes hardly show.
Sooner or later
everything must go.