Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Clouds


.

Cloud: Gerhard Richter, 1976, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)



It is a very beautiful day. The woman looks around and thinks: “there cannot ever have been a spring more beautiful than this. I did not know until now that clouds could be like this. I did not know that the sky is the sea and that clouds are the souls of happy ships, sunk long ago. I did not know that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress -- what did I know –- until now?"

Unica Zürn (1916-1970): from Dark Spring (Dunkler Frühling), 1954, English translation by Caroline Rupprecht, 2000



 

Clouds: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (Museum Folkwang, Essen / Gerhard Richter Art)




Someone moving them?

An invisible hand.




Clouds: Gerhard Richter, 1978, oil on paper, 400 x 250 cm (K20 Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf / Gerhard Richter Art)

 

The cloud will never be any older.


Later this morning, this afternoon, it will have moved, drifted, changed shape.

Its age, at this moment, in this place, in this shape, is exactly zero.

That is, infinite.


There is no such thing as an old cloud.




Cloud: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa / (Gerhard Richter Art)
  


No one knows where the cloud has been, what it has passed over, what it has seen.

No one knows how the cloud feels. 




Cloud: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa / (Gerhard Richter Art)


The saddest-looking cloud is not really sad.

The angriest-looking cloud is not really angry.

The most-cheerful-looking cloud is not really happy.

No one ever wandered lonely as a cloud.

The loneliest-looking cloud is not really lonely.

The most exhausted-looking cloud may have just had a good night's rest.




Cloud: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa / Gerhard Richter Art)


Clouds (Atmosphere): Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)
 

Clouds (Window): Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 400 cm (Essl Museum Klosterneuberg, Vienna /(Gerhard Richter Art)


Clouds (Pink): Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)



Study for Clouds: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 40 x 80 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)


Clouds (Grey): Gerhard Richter, 1969, oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)


Clouds (Grey): Gerhard Richter, 1969, oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)


Clouds: Gerhard Richter, 1970, oil on canvas, 170 x 170 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)

14 comments:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

The most exhausted-looking cloud may have just had a good night's rest.

Joe I. of Fort Wayne wrote on 7/23/13

“Visited Disney last Thanksgiving, and [The Hall of Robot Presidents] is the ONE place that my wife insisted we go into during our visit.

It was great. Air-conditioned, comfy chairs, the lights go down, and then the show starts.

I wish I could remember more than that, but I fell asleep. My wife and kids all said that it was interesting. They were studying US Presidents in school as well, so it was a natural fit for them.

I woke up when the lights were coming back on, and felt refreshed and ready to make it to midnight.

I considered it a WIN WIN. My wife just sort of frowned at me.”

manik sharma said...

Tom,

Well i just heard an earthing quote in a David Lynch show..

"The woods are our sadness" I've never been more appreciative of a televised 'moment' in my life..

And so "The clouds our demons?" While i give air to that thought i'm wishing for the monsoons to hang on for a day or two, so i may dry myself of this thoughtless soakage..

As always,Great poem Tom

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Dear Tom:
Again, such an inspiring collection! You said I might chime in... so chime it is...
_______________

CLOUDS

Wavy clouds in blue New Mexico sky
(blue of turquoise necklace, huge blue eyes of
otherworldly children whose faces have evaporated into
thin air so only their suspended bright blue eyes remain),
one round fluffy cloud that looks like
it’s named: “Whatever-Happens-I’m-Happy,”

one huge scimitar-shaped cloud as if
flung from west to east, that might be called:
“Cutting-Through-Untruth-to-Display-
Pure-Endless-Space”

one patch of disparate silvery-white paint daubs
from an original unity fleecily suspended,
that could be called: “No-Piece-of-the-Puzzle-That-Doesn’t
Contain-the-Whole,”

a great dark gray sky thunderhead covering
the entire eastern heavens, ominous, perhaps named
“So-Much-Noise-and-Flashing-Light
in-This-Short-Life,”

bits of cloudy punctuation hanging above
the purple western hills, pauses in the
run-on sentence of sky exhaled in
one long breath from far behind vast visible space,

all these high cloudy signs of Allah’s spacious elegant
manifestations, insubstantial bodies
lazily floating in the baby-blue pool of sky
above sharp desert scrub and
rugged gorge ravine,

as our hearts also rise from our
separately distinguished bodies

filled with inner light.

8/14/97 (from Chants for the Beauty Feast/Ecstatic Exchange 2011)

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

"An invisible hand."

8.3

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, quails calling from field
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

meaning the physical object,
other as well as from

“when left,” turn to figure,
blue moves across the

sun rising in fog against top of ridge,
line of pelicans flapping toward point

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Out of the clouds our poems fall
... up or down?
Who knows?

They fall...
___________

(Just finished rereading your Junkets on a Sad Planet cabinet of wonders... now, "magic casements"? Yeah...)

Unknown said...



There is only one cloud

a dancing vision

your respiration is

its respiration

to be aware there is a rare treat




Harris Schiff

Unknown said...

Wonderful poem Tom

Unknown said...

Zürn's words are so healing

"that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress -- what did I know –- until now?"


Thanks Tom


Harris

Unknown said...

Richter's clouds look so easy

just like clouds

Wooden Boy said...

A human being can encourage himself, give himself orders, obey and blame and punish himself; he can ask himself a question and answer it... But is it also conceivable that there be a language in which a person could write down or give voice to his inner experiences - his feelings, moods, and so on - for his own use? - Well, can't we do so in our ordinary language? - but that is not what I mean. The words of this language are to refer to what only the speaker can know - to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, (no. 243) Philosophical Investigations

TC said...

Comments of astounding genius every one, each an inspiration like a floating cloud... followed by another floating cloud.

The dog days of summer, season of wayward clouds.

I don't get about much any more, but the wayward clouds do... and what with the state of things down here on the ground at the moment, one could do worse than make sure to always be looking up. If possible. (Wish I had the ability.)

Where to begin?

Curiously, my fixation with wayward clouds began as a child, during a long illness late one summer, when there was nothing to do but stare out the window at the cloud parade.

E'er since...

There was a period c. two decades back when for some years I painted clouds. Steadily. It was possible to be steady then. Nothing teaches attention better than an exercise like that. The blues and pinks and buttery yellows hid within a passing late summer cloud... ingredients of atmosphere.

A later phase of wayward-cloud fascination seems to have coincided with certain movies made by the Taiwanese (Malaysian-born) film director Ming-liang Tsai.

I think this can be traced back to the final four minutes of Tsai's short film The Skywalk is Gone (2002).

In the following clip, the floating clouds enter at 7:49, with soundtrack introduction of the popular song Nanping Bell.

Ming-liang Tsai: The Skywalk Is Gone (2002)

But then in Tsai's next film, the wayward clouds get ... really crazy. Even if you've blanked the rest of this comment, do check out these next two clips. Guaranteed to make you happy forever.

Ming-liang Tsai: The Wayward Cloud (2005) -- WC Scene

Ming-liang Tsai: The Wayward Cloud (2005) -- Love Begins (w/Chiang Kai-Shek)

Moving right along (as wayward clouds do...), the mention of Keats reminds me that this is the time of year when Keats is always very much in my air. A cloud is a fragile thing really. Keats -- lung problems, breathlessness.

Weight (Keats, Winchester, Late Summer 1819)

As for Unica Zürn, in case anybody is interested -- a figure to think upon. Perhaps you already know a bit about her. But just in case.

Unica Zürn: Oracle and Spectacle

Bound: Unica Zürn at the Ubu Gallery

Bound: Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn (Brooklyn Rail)

Gary Indiana: A Stone for Unica Zürn (Art in America)

ACravan said...

The best part of flying in airplanes, which for a while I did all the time, was getting close to the clouds. Watching them while being in their midst made me forget my increasing terror about flying (for a while). All of this -- your poem, the Richter paintings and the Zurn passage -- made my day. Curtis

TC said...

Thanks very much, Curtis, and lovely to hear from you as always. I have not flown in many a year, but shall never forget the strange joy of flying through clouds -- their way of reminding of that Gertrude Stein saying about Oakland: There's no there there. Looking again, a while back, at Georgia O'Keeffe's cloud paintings, and recalling that she never flew until she was in her seventies. And then... that miraculous uplift. The elation. As if water lilies had been kept out of Monet's view until somebody upstairs decided he was ready at last.

donnafleischer said...

Richter's "Clouds" float us out on the edges of Earth as well as nakazora, a realm which exists between earth and sky where birds and other beings fly.

There are also the "Cloud Paintings" of Jacqueline Gourevitch, some of which you may enjoy here:

http://www.firstpulseprojects.net/Out-of-the-Blue/Gourevitch09.html

And, thank you for the Richter scroll, Tom. – Donna