The first time I saw a cloud born
it rose up out of a deep narrow valley.
It was Springtime in a hot dry country
that would soon consume the moisture of its small rare forests.
It was a cool evening during Easter week
and I was out walking with someone whose name is now
We stood watching the mist rise up from the stream
from the small trees clinging to the sides of the ravine.
And it broke free of earth, lifting and drifting.
I understood at that moment that this is how clouds are born.
I understood that the cloud could dissipate in the fierce sun
or mass with other clouds and rain somewhere close or far away.
I thought about mighty oceans and storm clouds.
I grasped the idea that the drop falling from a tropical leaf
or shaken from the feather of a bird, was
Water I might drink one day, or use to rinse a cloth,
Water a great plantation might harness to irrigate a crop
Water I would shed in tears, all one water
all Ganges water, all Nile water, all Jordan water, all Amazon water
Bow to the cloud as it is born then. Bow and do not forget
the birth of clouds.