How to the lofty clouds impose 

Their shadows on the distant sea,

Where the flying cirrus throws

Its weight, no doubt with gravity,


Planting on the ocean's mirror glass

Facsimiles that seem the same

As what we see on country grass

Or shone on fields with perfect aim,


A commonplace phenomenon 

On lazy summer afternoons 

Of transparent sky and beaming sun,

Meadows peopled with the heavens' ruins;


But, looking down from 

Where the racing shades are matched,

We see that nature's copies come 

With certain misty strings attached,


As our higher point of view 

Shows a smoky sort of light 

Against the water's background blue

Like a loose tail on a kite,


But blurry and shimmering, alive,

Like a moving strand of rain;

Umbilicals that jibe

And coil below the plane


And link these flowers to their base,

Although in face the opposite is true

(As plants their higher maspers trace,

So water fakes what water vapor drew),


The world so upside-down here

That our 737 seems to swim

In a waving coral hemisphere

Like a fish in an aquarium,


But still, it's good to see,

If only when the lowly eye

Stumbles on infinity,

That the roots of earth are in the sky.


January 24th, 2002

Duke's Restaurant and Gray's Beach, Waikiki

Redone March 19th, 2002

Tippet Alley


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