What the Sky is Made of. Photo by Stephen Locke.

Two Poems by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Photographs by Stephen Locke

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What the Sky is Made of

The sky is made of soft rain and hard light,
the old yearning to be held, the ancient fear of not
having enough, and the fountain of wind that says,
Something’s gone, something else is arriving.

The sky is made of rocks shattered finer than
the smallest atoms of human memory, air we call breath
once we take it in and turn it to motion, anger, or song.

The beating of hummingbird wings compose the sky,
as well as the fluttering of muscle on muscle, the space
in between the rain, the drum of the jackrabbit’s heart.

The sky is made of rivers before and after they become rivers.

You Rise Up to Meet the Falling World. Photo by Stephen Locke.

You Rise Up to Meet the Falling World

Whatever you lift to the sky, the sky covers:
middle-of-the-night exaggerations dissolve
to slivers of sadness on your pillow,
middle-of-life jolts compress the heavens
into one streak of sleet, thawing into softer ground.
Like the rain cycle that obscures the view,
you can lose your way on old ground or forget
the innate blue light in everything, ready again.
The surface of the tall grass spins in the breeze
it swirls into existence. The present twists down
to meet you each time you catch your foot.
Stars inform daylight or its absence.
We are made to catch the falling world,
just as the earth is shaped perfectly to catch us.




These poems and photographs originally appeared in Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image (Ice Cube Press), by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Stephen Locke. They are reprinted with permission.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, is the author of 19 books, including The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a nonfiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and five poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image with weather chaser/photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads writing and singing retreats.
Stephen Locke is a photographer, filmmaker, professional storm chaser, book author, and public speaker. He produces motion and still photography for business and private collectors worldwide. Clients include Andrews McMeel Publishing, CBS, Mayo Clinic, The Weather Channel, and Discovery. Stephen provides supercell time lapse cinematography to production houses across the globe including Japan, Europe, Canada, and Australia. He is an author of the book Chasing Weather. Stephen is also a keynote speaker who talks about supercell thunderstorms, storm chase adventures, and supercell time-lapse cinematography to corporate audiences, universities, and organizations.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.