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I  The Plum Tree

James Reaney


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The Clouds

Whitely the clouds come
Across this afternoon
While I sit, as at play,
And watch where far away
The clouds weep
And shake with thunderous laughter.
But, nearer, glide
In continual melancholy
Neither with sadness nor gladness
Like a dream of sheep.

Then all I know is that it’s sometime
In the humdrum green summertime
And all the sky’s become
A bedroom’s wallpaper
Where vague white beasts
Jostle, slip and caper.
There are white fat sheep
After whom the winds leap
And white jumping mountains
Whose feet are downward fountains
And who creak and creep and fly
Down the bright summer sky.
All walk on long tall stilts of glass
For too close they dare not pass
For fear for gold
They might be caught and sold.
There are hundreds of pairs
Of pink sofas and chairs
And great pink lutes
And soft pink boots
Pink swollen violins

Fat naked gentlemen whose sins
Have made them fat
And at least a vat
of swans and gramaphones.
Then I woke and they were clouds again
composed of swiftly sculptured rain.
they were only clouds
And not the fascinating crowds
Of fat furniture that capered
On those blue walls wallpapered
By the Marchioness of Madness.
What are the clouds that sail by so slow
In pale cities of wrestling snow
If not that fancied wallpaper where rang
The soft marvellous bells of delirious meringue?