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William R. Batesole 1927-2008

Last Cloud

William R. Batesole

I've seen it there, of course,
That last great cloud giant,
Hanging in the East, while all the rest
Are slowly disappearing.

Now I'm circling, high over the lakes
And home field, in the suddenly quiet air.
Shadows have grown long with washes of deep green
Spreading over sunlit farms.
Gliders are secured in a row, all but one.

The familiar scene calls up to me
To come and join the tranquil mood,
To be content to have flown
In the wild, living air of earlier hours.
To land and be among friends; to rest.

I take a turn or two, aware of weariness
And drawn to the calm below.
But the great cloud out there surely lives,
Alone now in the deepening blue.
Its massive white top has changed to coral light,
Yet the flat, dark base says power is not done.

It calls a different word-
To come, to frolic still a little while.
Not to let its force be wasted!

I circle one more round, pulled in two directions.
"I'll go...I'll stay...
Oh, but that beauty does tempt me...
I'll go!"

So nose down and sun behind me
I start the long run,
Feeling like a truant child.
Down and down- so far to go
Across the great blue arch.
I trade away my wealth of height.

The mass ahead grows nearer.

But so slowly.
It is a friend I'm rushing to?
Dial hands tell me how poor I've become,
But now the base is sliding over me.
I'm here!

No feeling.  Have I been a fool?
A moment of fear, then a bump...and another.
The air is suddenly alive!  Gauges leap.
I climb, and fear is gone.
I revel in the power,
Surging higher and higher--wealth repaid and more.

We're free to play, my friend and I.
To wheel, to dive
And climb again-even higher.
It's all for me, this secret place.
Again, that feeling of a child,
Now with a billowing pool all to myself.

I laugh aloud, my sense tuned
To the excitement, sound, lift, life!

And does it matter that, in a turn,
I catch a glint from the lakes
Far away toward the sun?
Field and friends are there
Somewhere in hazy shadow,
Closing down,
Unaware.

---Glider flight at Canaan, CT. 6-22-1980

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Posted: 2/24/2009


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