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Category: Funny Women Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems for women, and about women. The good, the bad, and the lovely.

  THE CLOUD  

                AN IDYLL OF THE WESTERN FRONT

                                         I

|Scene|: A wayside shrine in France.

|Persons|: Celeste, Pierre, a Cloud.

|Celeste| (gazing at the solitary white Cloud):
    I wonder what your thoughts are, little Cloud,
    Up in the sky, so lonely and so proud!

|Cloud|: Not proud, dear maiden; lonely, if you will.
    Long have I watched you, sitting there so still
    Before that little shrine beside the way,
    And wondered where your thoughts might be astray;
    Your knitting lying idle on your knees,
    And worse than idle--like Penelope's,
    Working its own undoing!

|Celeste| (picks up her knitting): Who was she?
    Saints! What a knot!--Who was Penelope?
    What happened to her knitting? Tell me, Cloud!

|Cloud|: She was a Queen; she wove her husband's shroud.

|Celeste| (drops the knitting).
    His shroud!

|Cloud|: There, there! 'Twas only an excuse
    To put her lovers off, a wifely ruse,
    Bidding them bide till it was finished, she
    Each night the web unravelled secretly.

|Celeste|: He came home safe?
|Cloud|:                                        If I remember right,
    It was the lovers needed shrouds that night!
    It is an old, old tale. I heard it through
    A Wind whose ancestor it was that blew
    Ulysses' ship across the purple sea
    Back to his people and Penelope.
    We Clouds pick up strange tales, as far and wide
    And to and fro above the world we ride,
    Across uncharted seas, upon the swell
    Of viewless waves and tides invisible,
    Freighted with friendly flood or forkËd flame,
    Knowing not whither bound nor whence we came;
    Now drifting lonely, now a company
    Of pond'rous galleons--

|Celeste|:                                             Oft-times I see
    A Cloud, as by some playful fancy stirred,
    Take likeness of a monstrous beast or bird
    Or some fantastic fish, as though 'twere clay
    Moulded by unseen hands.

|Cloud|:                                            Then tell me, pray,
    What I resemble now!

|Celeste|:                                             I scarcely know.
    But had you asked a little while ago,
    I should have said a camel; then your hump
    Dissolved, and you became a gosling plump,
    Downy and white and warm--

|Cloud|:                            What! Warm, up here?
    Ten thousand feet above the earth!

|Celeste|:                                                             Oh dear!
    What am I thinking of! Of course I know
    How cold it is. Pierre has told me so
    A thousand times.

|Cloud|:                                    And who is this Pierre
    That tells you all the secrets of the air?
    How came he to such frigid heights to soar?

|Celeste|: Pierre's my--He is in the Flying Corps.

|Cloud|: Ah, now I understand! And he's away?

|Celeste|: He left at dawn, where for he would not say,
    Telling me only 'twas a bombing raid
    Somewhere--My God! What's that?

|Cloud|:                                    What, little maid?
|Celeste| (pointing): That--over there--beyond the wooded crest!

|Cloud|: Only a skylark dropping to her nest;
    Her mate is hov'ring somewhere near. I heard
    His tremulous song of love--

|Celeste|:                                         That was no bird!
    (Drops upon her knees.)
    O Mary! Blessed Mother! Hear, my prayer!
    That one that fell--grant it was not Pierre!
    Here is the cross my mother gave me--I
    Will burn the longest candle it will buy!

|Cloud|: Courage, my child! Your prayer will not be vain!
    Who guards the lark, will guide your lover's plane.
    The West Wind's calling. I must go!--Hark! There
    He sings again! Le bon Dieu garde, ma chËre!


                                                II

|Pierre|: I made a perfect landing over there
    Behind the church--

|Celeste|:                                     The Virgin heard my prayer!
    Now I must burn the candle that I vowed--

|Pierre|: Then 'twas our Blessed Lady sent that Cloud
    That saved me when the Boche came up behind.
    I made a lightning turn, only to find
    The Boche on top of me. It seemed a kind
    Of miracle to see that Cloud--I swear
    A moment past the sky was everywhere
    As clear as clear; there was no Cloud in sight.
    It looked to me, floating there calm and white.
    Like a great mother hen, and I a chick.
    She seemed to call me, and I scurried quick
    Behind her wing. That spoiled the Boche's game,
    And gave me time to turn and take good aim.
    I emptied my last drum, and saw him drop
    Ten thousand feet in flames--

|Celeste| (shuddering):                    Stop! Pierre, stop!
    Maybe a girl is waiting for him too--

|Pierre|: 'Twas either him or me |Celeste|:
                                                            Thank God, not you!

|Pierre| (pointing to the church): Come, let us burn the candle that
             you vowed.

|Celeste|: Two candles!

|Pierre|: Who's the other for?

|Celeste|: The Cloud!

                         Oliver Herford.


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