Jacob’s Ladder – Ed Limb

Jacob’s Ladder

It’s almost impossible to see clouds.  
They’re there, of course, in their flat caps and fluff.

But we hardly ever see them. I mean, 
for their vastness, sheer scale, as monuments,

palaces, leviathan. How can you?  
They’re always there. It’s a useless kind of awe.

But, Christ, if they were alive! They’d be the match  
of gods – proper Lovecraftian stuff.

If they were mountain peaks, they’d thrill the heart.  
If tombs, who could deserve or what age sculpt them?

When they glow in the evening like embers
the earth is ash. When cast in gold at dawn

they seem the host of heaven. Even on days   
like today, when the sky is a loading screen,

they are a marble sea encircling the horizon.   
If we could see them, we’d stop in traffic,

we’d cower or convert. But how can we?  
Why would we? They’re just clouds.

I explain this to my mum on the phone.   
It’s one of several such calls, when the line’s

a little thread holding me together.   
I dip my ankles in her patience, her love,

make myself invulnerable in it and its vastness.   
She updates me on the chickens.

I tell her about my work. And afterwards,
I wonder: could I ever see her love,

really see it, encircling my horizon? But
how could I? Why would I? It’s just mum.

Ed grew up in Nottingham and studied English at university, spending more time in theatres than lectures. He lives in London and writes around his day job. He is glad to have had pieces published in Under the Radar, Dust, Dream Catcher, and Sideways Poetry.

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