Monday, August 24, 2009

encyclopedia entry as poetry

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A cloud is nothing more
than a collection of water particles or
ice crystals floating in the

There are ten different types of clouds.

Five of the ten types of clouds
can be found at
low altitudes.

They are called stratus,
nimbostratus, and

Stratus clouds are spread out, dull clouds
usually found at
ground level.

Stratus clouds are so close to the ground
they are
as fog.

Cumulonimbus clouds are piled up high like
scoops of dark ice cream.
These clouds usually bring rain showers.

Cumulus clouds are white and fluffy and
look like giant heads of cauliflower.

Dark, flat nimbostratus clouds often produce rain or snow.

Stratocumulus clouds are spread out heaps of dense cover
that rise higher in the atmosphere.

Altocumulus and altostratus are middle-altitude clouds.
Even though the word alto means "height" in Latin,
these are not the highest clouds.

Altocumulus clouds look fleecy
and have dark, shadowed sides.

Altostratus clouds are flat and
make the sun look as if it is being seen
through a misty glass.

Clouds forming in high altitudes are called cirrus,
cirrostratus, and

It is so cold in the upper atmosphere
that high altitude clouds contain
ice crystals instead of
water particles.

Cirrocumulus clouds look like upside down waves
rolling across
the sky.

High, thin cirrostratus clouds look much like stratus clouds,
but cirrostratus clouds contain ice crystals and are much higher.

Cirrus clouds form
when the wind blows these ice crystals into wispy streaks
that look like thin horse tails.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

when art surprises us from nowhere

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Years ago, I awoke somewhere in the still-dark hours of a summer night to find a brilliant full moon shining into the bedroom. At the time I had four cats, and one of them was a couple of feet away on top of the bedcovers, scratching at an area where the light was falling. The sound or movement of the cat's paws on the blanket might even have been what stirred me to open my eyes.

Then the most fascinating thing happened. In my dreamy, half-asleep state, a small poem emerged instantaneously and fully formed... a haiku with the famous 5-7-5 syllable scheme.

Fortunately I wrote it down, not giving in to that all-too-common delusion that I'd remember it later.

It's still one of my favorite little creations, in no small part because it's genesis took place somewhere completely removed from conscious thought:

my cat scratches at
bright white patches of moonlight
on the night blanket

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