Summer 1947 • Vol. IX No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1947 |

Cloud Country

How like a marriage is the season of clouds. The winds at night are festive and constellations Like stars in a kaleidoscope dissolve And meet in astounding images of order. How like a wedding and how like travelers Through alchemies of a healing atmosphere We whirl with hounds on leashes and lean birds. As though the air, being magician, pulled Birds from a sleeve of cloud, birds drop To warm grass dented by a smile asleep. Long odysseys of sunlight at this hour Salute the gaze that of all weariness Remains unwearied, and the air turns young Like reddening light in a corridor of pines. The landscape where we lie is creased with light As a painting one might have folded and put away And never wished to study until now. How like a marriage, how like voyagers We come upon this season of right clouds, Valors of altitude, white harbors, hills Supple and green, these actions of the sun.

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In the Summer of 1947, James Merrill had just graduated from Amherst College, but he had already published his first book of poems, The Black Swan, which won the prestigious Glascock Prize for Poetry awarded by Mount Holyoke College. In April, he published four poems in Poetry Magazine, followed quickly by this first appearance in KR.

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Caesarion

By James Merrill

How like a marriage is the season of clouds. The winds at night are festive and constellations Like stars in a kaleidoscope dissolve And meet in astounding images of order. […]

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