Cloud Army: An Illustrated Poem

Cloud Army, by DbBuilder

Early morning in mid-August.

The air is thick with invisible water.

When the sun snaps above the eastern ridge, it starts its great work.

It builds.

Cloud Army

On the northern mountains far away, solid rounded heads begin to rise like spies and scouts from an advancing army peering at the southern flats.

Cloud Army

By mid-morning the vanguard can be seen building higher, solid and substantial.

There the shapes small and great jostle for position to be the first to strike for fame, for glory.

And the sun continues building.


It is late afternoon and the cloud army has reached its height.

It is flat on top and elongated to the south east.


Now the sun has gone below, and the high solid red angry army glowers down from high and far away.

Today we were spared.



1. “Cloud Army” is what type of poem?

2. Can you find examples of the following literary devices in this poem?

  • Simile – a stated comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as.”
  • Metaphor – an implied comparison without using the words “like” or “as.”

3. Which figurative language technique is predominant in this poem?


You’ve probably observed how clouds form on hot, humid afternoons when warm, moist air currents rise above the Earth’s surface. The rising water vapor condenses upon tiny dust particles in the air. When enough of these congregate together, it becomes a cloud. The cloud keeps growing and changing as more and more moist air from below rises to meet it.

If you get a lot of moisture and a lot of lift, eventually these clouds will develop into towering cumulonimbus clouds with huge mushroom tops that extend about ten miles up. You may see a mature cumulonimbus with a flat, anvil-like top. This is caused by high altitude wind shear where it touches the stratosphere, which makes the cloud spread out sideways.

The air temperature at that great height is below freezing, which makes the water droplets turn into ice. Many small bits of ice bump into each other as they move and bounce around on the air currents. All these collisions cause a build up of electrical charge – like sparks of static electricity, but much bigger. This sets the stage for lightning and thunder – the transfer of electrical energy into heat, light and sound. Now the cumulonimbus cloud lives up to its common name: thunderhead.

Precipitation occurs when the droplets of water and/or ice in the cloud become massive enough for the force of gravity to overcome the upward air draft. Then these droplets fall down to earth in the form of rain or hail. A thunderstorm is a rain storm accompanied by thunder and lightning. If no precipitation falls, you may still see an electrical storm up in the clouds. Dry lightning storms are quite common in the arid Southwestern U.S.


Photo poetry is an excellent way to express yourself and be creative. It’s a way of putting two art forms together, photography and poetry, and creating your own masterpieces. Write a poem based on one photo, or use several photos to illustrate a poem. Create your own photo poem and we will publish your work! Send it to

1. Free Verse – a poem that does not follow any regular rhyme or rhythm pattern
2. Simile – “like spies and scouts”; Metaphor – “cloud army”
3. Personification – giving human qualities to non-human things, a type of metaphor

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