The Cold Tap Sings

the p-word

Tag: Clouds


Here’s a wordplay I recently wrote on the train from Eastbourne to London. On this journey you snake through the South Downs and skate across a floodplain on the approach to Lewes, where this poem is set.


‘The Mirror’

The mirror the rain left
mirrored the sky.
It mirrored the clouds
when they sailed
through the sky.
It mirrored the sun
when it smiled
through the clouds.
It mirrored the bird
when it thirstily
the mirrored bird.
And when the clouds
grew bigger and blacker
it was no longer a mirror.
Instead it was a glut of rain.


I was looking at a puddle and then I saw the sky. It goes without saying that this was inspired by the abysmal weather we’ve been subject to in Britain this summer. Go here for another poem about rain. And, if things continue in the same vein, stay tuned for another.


When the sun sets on Beachy Head the majority of the light disappears over the horizon leaving the downland in shadow. However certain rays still bend over the contours to pick out the light colours – the whites, yellows and violets. I had intended to write about the sunset for ‘Fathom’ and, luckily, today’s triggered the following lines.


‘Picture Postcard’

Wish you were here:
the cloud-bank
follows the curve
of the coastline
and the sunset,
like a stagehand,
dims the grassland
and picks out
the orchid,
the toadflax,
the cowslip,
the silvery wingtip
of the chalkhill blue.


The flowers mentioned towards the end of the poem all prosper on the South Downs. The chalkhill blue, pictured above, is a rare butterfly that flutters across them for a few weeks in late summer.

Read more sections from ‘Fathom’, my ongoing project about Sussex by the sea, here.


Fathom‘ was meant to be about Sussex by the sea … but somehow it’s ended up being more about the sea and the sky.


the yachts soar
through the sea
the clouds sail
through the sky.


I’m going to be spending Christmas by the sea and intend to stomp down the prom with my notebook and pen. Let’s see what happens. Read more sections from ‘Fathom’ here.


As we come to the end of 2011 I’ve been looking back at this year’s crop of poems to try to take stock of my achievements. One of my (many) aims was to write a poem–gift for some of my closest friends. I managed three, for which I’ll give myself a B-. This one I’m particularly proud of, and I think it the best poem I’ve written this year. It’s for my friend Natasha who likes clouds and is a potter – the cloudspotter.



for Natasha Peach



Lavish daydreams of clouds
advance and recede
in a quickening crowd
see the shapes
this seahorse
now horseshoe


Billowing textures

Bright plumes
up there
on the spindle of the sky
again unfurl
such whiteness
so weightless


The cloudspotter

She looks up in awe
an echelon of clouds
jostles for position
a puzzle for the eye
the contours
she looks up in awe


You can visit Natasha’s eclectic blog here for, amongst other things, the genius (and never weekly) Squirrel of the Week feature.


A haikuesque section of ‘Fathom’.


‘Les Nuages’

In Debussyan twilight
like a watercolour
behind an oil painting
a snippet of cerulean
peeps through
purple-grey clouds.


Read more sections from ‘Fathom’ here.