weekend-readsCloud Country

James Merrill

From The Kenyon Review, Summer 1947, Vol. IX, No. 3

How like a marriage is the season of clouds.
The winds at night are festive and constellations
Like stars in a kaleidoscope dissolve
And meet in astounding images of order.
How like a wedding and how like travelers
Through alchemies of a healing atmosphere
We whirl with hounds on leashes and lean birds.

As though the air, being magician, pulled
Birds from a sleeve of cloud, birds drop
To warm grass dented by a smile asleep.
Long odysseys of sunlight at this hour
Salute the gaze that of all weariness
Remains unwearied, and the air turns young
Like reddening light in a corridor of pines.

The landscape where we lie is creased with light
As a painting one might have folded and put away
And never wished to study until now.
How like a marriage, how like voyagers
We come upon this season of right clouds,
Valors of altitude, white harbors, hills
Supple and green, these actions of the sun.

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