Robert Francis


Blight and disease will never reach cloud-high
To touch those perfect clouds with flaw or pain.
Though they appear and pass, clouds never die.
Or if they die the beautiful death of rain,
They are born beautiful and white again
In this same sky or in another sky.

Farther than bird-flight, nearer than nearest star,
They only seem to rest upon the hills.
Thanks to all they are not and all they are
We rest in them our minds, our moods, our wills.
Moving with them we move beyond all ills–
Far from the ailing earth, yet not too far.

Robert Francis, Robert Francis: Collected Poems,
1936-1976, University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.