The Cloud of Unknowing

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Cloud of Unknowing
a Haibun

Today, strong gusts of wind pummel the desert floor, while on the Santa Rosa mountains ominous clouds hang low, seemingly reluctant to bring much-needed rain to our thirsty valley. In spite of drought, stalwart wild flowers, yellow and lavender, push through the crusty desert floor, clothing our world in swaths of color.

The old man sits on his patio across the way from me, bundled in a bright red lap robe. The fragrance of his pipe wafts my way and I recall the hours we used to sit and muse on life’s mysteries while nursed his tobacco habit and stroked the burled wood cradled in the palm of his hand. “I’ve seen a lot,” he would say, “and I know very little. I’m willing to wait to understand it all.”

Confusion clouds his mind these days, but when he sees me those eyes still twinkle and he throws me a kiss. I catch it, and toss one of my own back to him. I suppose that he’s closer to piercing through the darkness and unwrapping the mysteries the rest of us still grapple with.

cloud-covered mountain
even at the summit
we can’t always see clearly

Today we are pleased to have Lynn hosting Poetics at dVerse. She asks us to climb to the summit of the mountain for inspiration. I’m fortunate to live my life surrounded by majestic mountains. Thank you, Lynn. Please join us. 


The Cloud of Unknowing–dVerse Poetics

tule fog

Image by emdot via Flickr

The Cloud of Unknowing

Who covered our valley with layers of gauzy fog?
Before me, another car edges forward.
I follow dim tail lights, hoping that somewhere ahead
another leads the tentative parade.

Last week, a mountain spanned the landscape
on the lower third of earth’s canvas.
A two-lane highway wove its way through
rabbit brush, tumble weeds tumbled. Snakes slithered.

Today I see only dim tail lights, hoping that
tomorrow I will come home.

The Cloud of Unknowing is a spiritual treatise by an anonymous medieval mystic. It advises the follower that God cannot be understood through knowledge, but rather through contemplation. Oftentimes those who live in faith have to endure prolonged periods of doubt. Having spent time in California’s Central Valley and on the coast, I always found Tule Fog and coastal fog to be an apt metaphor for life’s journey at times like this.

Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub, Brian Miller asks us to see that which cannot be seen except through the third eye. Check it out at