Assignment: a poem about the “cloud”

I wrote this yesterday as well, in order to be able to show my face at the St. Lawrence Area Poets (SLAP) meeting with a completed assignment. The assignment comes from the newest computer buzz-word, “the cloud” indicating a non-specific location in a network of servers that contains a person’s online stuff–a sort of digital extension of the self. “What’s in your cloud?”--DH


First, the ancestor cloud, stratus,
the lattice of DNA, recording each
previous incarnation back to the amoeba.
Here remain mother and father,
instructing the body to grow. Here
is Aunt Anne’s eye and Grandpa’s jaw.

Second, cumulonimbus, the thunderhead
of memory, each impulse, each sensation
of the body, every turn of thought
a mote of condensation, a nexus of charge
that accumulates tension, building up
to lightning that twitches out in action.

Third, the cirrus cloud of culture,
wispy memes of attitude and style,
the ghost of every book ever read,
the music and images, flat phantasms,
instructional manuals, interviews with
the dead, this collective upload to eternity.

This is the way the water circulates,
rising and falling, and rising again.
This is how we distinguish ourselves,
becoming one thing and not another,
a discrete chunk awash in anonymous stew.
Any shape can arise when watching clouds.

Dale Hobson


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