Distant Thunderstorm

Cloud Verse

I’ve published more than 200 Posts in these pages over the past three years. I use a format of photos, reflections, and lessons drawn from places visited in Nature’s realm… here locally and even internationally. Seldom have I ventured beyond simple prose. But now I’ve completed a poetry writing class at the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I love words, especially words employed to speak of Nature-Inspired Life and Living. So, I’m tentatively and with no small measure of trepidation attempting some verse and free-form!


I love clouds. See two previous Posts highlighting my infatuation with them:

  • https://stevejonesgbh.com/2019/10/17/the-tumbling-mirth-of-sun-split-clouds-sky-gazing-on-a-12-day-national-parks-journey/
  • https://stevejonesgbh.com/2018/11/07/cheaha-state-park-mid-october-skies-and-clouds/

Normally I build explanatory and reflective text around my embedded photos. I don’t believe that it’s necessary for me to explain, describe, date, or give location for these images that I’ve included in previous Posts. Use your imagination… construct your own story.


Nature’s Cloud Inspiration


We’ll go with that as the poem’s title. I love the scientific names for clouds, using them liberally without definition in my verse. The words alone capture the spirit of my love affair with our vibrant atmosphere. And here’s my poem:


Firmament… a thin layer of heavenly gases

enveloping and sustaining life on Earth


Twenty miles up (or out) noctilucent clouds,

ice crystals at the edge of darkness and space


Closer to home, judgement day apocalyptic,

undulatus aspiratus portending doom


Towering power and fury, cumulonimbus,

of deluge, hail, gale, and lightning stabs


Mare’s tale white-feather brush strokes,

cirrus across deep blue fairness


Foggy obscurity lifting from terra firma,

stratus detail-mush, gray nothingness


Stratus with precipitation merits a moniker

to its own – nimbostratus offers rain and snow


White puffs of fair weather and smooth sailing,

cumulus cotton balls cruising the cerulean sea


And my favorite crowning lofty mountain peaks

is the lenticular, space-ship lenses, still-life beauties


Full-day azure over the barren desert

cloudless emptiness; beauty-less; hopeless


Give me the cloud menagerie of suspended droplets,

salving my eyes; soothing my soul


A forester, I love trees… have for life

but try growing a cloudless tree


Poems are made by fools like me

But only clouds can grow a tree



Clouds and Sky Inspiration

Approaching Derecho

Rapid City

Steve Jones at Mount Washington

Clouds and Trees


Poems are made by fools like me

But only clouds can grow a tree





A forester, I love trees… have for life

but try growing a cloudless tree


Poems are made by fools like me

But only clouds can grow a tree




Lake Guntersville SP


Joyce Kilmer captured the essence of trees and poetry:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I’ll continue toying with the idea of employing verse to translate Nature’ beauty, magic, wonder, and awe. Perhaps through the vehicle of poetic expression I can better capture the joy and inspiration that is Nature. For the moment, I’m enjoying the idea of shifting gears now and again from my standard writing in sentences and paragraphs held rigidly to the constraints of grammar and conformity.

Poems are made by fools like me

But only clouds can grow a tree

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.


  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!


Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Photos of Steve


I like to imagine that representative samples of my books appreciate accompanying me into the woods. So far, none has complained nor groaned. Knowing that I am getting way out in front of remote possibility, perhaps there is a book of Steve’s Nature-Inspired Life and Living Poetry awaiting me around the corner of some forested trail!


All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.


Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: https://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com