Winter Clouds: Liverpool

Behind the jagged winter trees, the clouds--
Grey clad and thickly edgeless--merge and form
A vast dim dome with no relief at all;
Just sky gone ashy white and blank. A shroud,
If you will, a winding sheet that holds storm
And keeps back the light until cold drops fall

Beneath and coat the branches as they fall
With ice that does not sparkle under clouds
That allow no light, allow no shine. Storm
And wind and cold may descend ľany form
Of dark and dismalness within this shroud
May come, but nothing all

Lies here these days. None may be seen at all
Of brightened mornings or afternoons that fall
Into brightened twilights. For this dull shroud,
This thick mantle of unremitting clouds,
Shuts away the world from every thing: form,
Beauty, light, all is gone from here. High storm

And denser gloom, then another high storm
That brings more gloom, have filled the season. All
The sky is filled with them; their lack of form
Creates a backdrop to grey days that fall
With no substance to them beneath the clouds
That cover everything. The swollen shroud

That smothers the light, the smothering shroud
That both comes after and foretells of storm,
Looms and glooms above us through these days. Clouds
Touching clouds, stretched out across the sky, all
Thickly spread and set with dull rains that fall
Without relief and without a formless form--

Even harder rains cannot break this form
Of ill-formed grey blankness, seamless grey shroud.
Rains fall, but nothing changes as they fall;
Rains storm, but nothing alters as they storm.
The clouds remain, endlessly, after all.
Clouds upon clouds remaining as if clouds

Were one form of endless form. Hail, snow, storm,
Wind: nothing shifts the shroud that covers all
As cold dim days fall...beneath this dome of clouds.

By Juleigh Howard-Hobson