A Cloud Shadow

By this time in the spring
the hillside’s buried green
is mostly resurrected:
a wide and grassy screen
on which is now projected
this dark amorphous thing.

Like some untidy blotch
a giant Holstein shed
from off its hide while grazing—
the thought could fill a head
straining for some amazing
phenomenon to watch.

With the same sight to ponder,
another, though, might think
how Chinese seers would train
rapt eyes on pools of ink
to see the future plain.
Downcast and slow to wander,

the shadow seems to brood
on our attempts to tame it
as well as we are able,
to pin it down and name it.
Drifting, unstable, sable,
it shirks similitude.

Robert Shaw

Robert B. Shaw retired from Mount Holyoke College, where he was the Emily Dickinson Professor of English, in 2016. He is the author of Blank Verse: A Guide to Its History and Use (Ohio University Press), and of seven volumes of poetry, the latest of which is A Late Spring, and After (Pinyon Publishing). A book of his new and selected poems, to be published by Pinyon, will appear in 2022.

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Author: Robert Shaw

Robert B. Shaw retired from Mount Holyoke College, where he was the Emily Dickinson Professor of English, in 2016. He is the author of Blank Verse: A Guide to Its History and Use (Ohio University Press), and of seven volumes of poetry, the latest of which is A Late Spring, and After (Pinyon Publishing). A book of his new and selected poems, to be published by Pinyon, will appear in 2022.