The Daytime Sky


Every now and then I think, while I have of course seen them every day of my life, I never really saw the skies before.
The sky o’erarches here,
I feel the vast space of the sky overhead so clear,
The free space of the sky, a wonderfully fine dome, transparent and blue,
The limpid spread of air cerulean, pellucid blue and silver tempering and arching all the immense materiality,
A vast, voiceless, formless simulacrum—
Yet maybe the most real reality and formulator of everything—Who knows?

Hast thou, pellucid, in thy azure depths, medicine for case like mine?
And dost thou subtly mystically now drip it through the air invisibly upon me?
The days are full of sunbeams and oxygen,
The slight settling haze of aerial moisture, the sky and the peacefulness expanding in all directions and overhead, fill and soothe me,
My soul is calm’d and expanded beyond description by the clear blue arching over all,
Nothing particular, only sky and daylight.
The daylight is lit with more volatile light—
The play of light coming and going—
Light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

I am jealous and overwhelm’d with friendliness, and will go gallivant with the light and the air myself,
Lie on my back and breathe and live in that sweet air and clear sunlight.
A contact of something unseen—an amour of the light and air,
To the free skies unpent and glad and strong,
Not asking the sky to come down to my goodwill,
Scattering it freely forever.

The sun rejoices in his strength, dazzling and burning,
The most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
Radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all,
The gorgeous orb imperial, so vast, so ardently, lovingly hot.

Shine! shine! shine! O sun,
Thy throes, thy perturbations, sudden breaks and shafts of flame gigantic,
I understand them, I know those flames, those perturbations well,
I too carol the sun, usher’d, or at noon, or setting.

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling,
Glistening sun today, with slight haze, warm enough, and yet tart.
Here I am, still basking in the sun, (I have walk’d down the lane, basking all the way in the sun,)
A warm languor bathes me, a warm elasticity pervading the air,
The warm beams with fructifying heat and light impartially enfoldest all, bathe all,  and come streaming kissingly and almost hot on my face.
Pour down your warmth, great sun,
Thou that impartially infoldest all, not only continents, seas,
Thou that to grapes and weeds and little wild flowers givest so liberally,
Shed, shed thyself on mine and me, with but a fleeting ray out of thy million millions.

If I worship one thing more than another,
Sun so generous it shall be you,
Thy lover me, for always I have loved thee,
Electric life forever at the centre.

Above all, lo, the sky so calm, and with wondrous clouds,
Wonderful how the sailing clouds aloft pass silently overhead.
I see, just see skyward, the stretching light-hung roof of cloud,
The clear cerulean and the silvery fringes,
The tumbling gorgeousness of the great cloud-masses,
Distant sky-clouds’ blended shapes, rolling silver-fringed clouds,
With silver swirls like locks of toss’d hair, spreading, expanding;
Great fleeces of spacious white clouds, little or larger white ones,
limpid, spiritual,
Swimming so silently,
giving their still and spiritual motion to the great concave;
Strata of colored clouds, swift sheets of flitting vapor-gauze,
The vapor in fleeces tinged with violet.

Heaven-clouds canopy my city with a delicate thin haze,
The tranquil sunny haze, the clinging smoke, the
vapor—
I see the thin haze, on the tall white steeples of the city.
Gorgeous clouds, drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me,
Fitted to the sky, to float with floating clouds.

Thin swift passing clouds, like lace, blown overhead during a storm,
Careering, all silently, yet driven as if by the furies they sweep along,
Amid the whirl, absent or dead friends, the old, the past, somehow tenderly suggested,
Follow’d by dense clouds throwing an inky pall on everything,
Dark smoke-color’d clouds that roll in furious silence athwart the sky.

Ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Mournfully slowly they roll, silently swelling and mixing,
Like bodies of armed men coming up to battle at the call of their leader’s trumpet.
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
They shall not long possess the sky,
I stand and look under a limpid gray cloud, brighter and clearer for my sake!
I see in the distance where the sun shines
!

The clouds swiftly drew off like curtains, the clear appear’d, nature smiled again in her invigorated beauty. The sun shone out as it was dipping in the west, and with it the fairest, grandest, most wondrous rainbow I ever saw, all complete, very vivid at its earth-ends, spreading vast effusions of illuminated haze, violet, yellow, drab-green, in all directions overhead, through which the sun beam’d—an indescribable utterance of color and light, so gorgeous yet so soft, gladdening the sun and sky.

NEXT: The Nighttime Sky