Which Blue Sky Do You See Today? (Poetry Prompt)

“God is always seeking you. Every sunset. Every clear blue sky. Every ocean wave. The starry hosts of night. He blankets each new day with the invitation, “I am here.” Louie Giglio

A More Perfect Color of the Sky

Several years ago, we went to New York City and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.  A Look at the Museum’s Memorial Hall

One of the striking displays is a giant wall with 2,983 watercolor squares in different shades of blue. Each square represents a person who died in the World Trade Center, either in 1993 or in 2001. Together, the tiles form a more perfect picture of the color of the sky.

What do we mean when we say the sky is blue? Which blue? The blue of April is different than the blue of June. The blue at altitude is different than the blue of the ocean. Sometimes, the sky is many blues at once.


Some Blue Skies Are Like That

I’ve been reading Selected Poems: Barbara Crooker, by one of my favorite contemporary poets. Crooker is a great chronicler of sky. Here are a few of the dozens of blues mentioned in this collection:

  • “Sun-blind blue sky”
  • “The sky was a relentless blue.”
  • “hot blue sky”
  • “sky of forget-me-not blue”
  • “tart blue”
  • “eggshell blue sky”
  • “Night covered us with her blueblack wing”

Notice that few of these descriptions are the traditional blue sky that implies carefree beauty. Some blue skies are like that, but Crooker opens our eyes to other blues with other implications.


TRY IT: Which Blue Sky Do You See Today? 

Which blue sky do you see today? How can you describe it in a way that describes how you are feeling right now? Or perhaps your sky isn’t blue at all—it’s gray or even white. Write that sky.


A Poem to Get You Started

I am a big fan of the American Life in Poetry website, curated by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. A new poem is posted each Monday.

This poem by Alberto Ríos is about the blue of the sky. Ríos is from Nogales, Arizona, which shares a border with Nogales, Mexico, and his poetry often straddles lines. He was Arizona’s first poet laureate.


We Are of a Tribe by Alberto Ríos

We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,

Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.

It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:

Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.

The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.

The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.

The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.

The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.

Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.


Poem Journal

Even when you don’t feel like writing a poem, you can always journal about one. All you need is a pencil and paper (or a computer, if you prefer to be able to read your own writing).

  • Read the poem.
  • Jot down what you notice, what you like, what you don’t, what questions you have, and at least one way in which the poem speaks to your soul.
  • Read the poem again, aloud (if you didn’t the first time).
  • Is anything bubbling up? Do you feel a poem stirring? If so, write it. If not, congratulate yourself anyway because you wrote today by journaling.

Here’s my journaling from We Are of a Tribe.

  • Blue is my color of hope, the turquoise of a Southwestern sky. Every time I go west, I am “Hoping that, someday,” what I wish will come about.
  • What does the sky dream?
  • Right now, we all have so many restrictions due to COVID-19, but “Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.” Today, the sky is barely blue.
  • I can’t help but think of a song I grew up with, “Blue Skies” by Willie Nelson. We’ve been covered up in blue sky this spring. Lately, my Sundays have been “blue days,” sad days, as I had to stream my church’s service rather than gather in person. Behind the service on my screen is the most majestic blue sky.
  • To plant dreams, we must look up. Eschew those screens long enough to long for something more. May we become “a tribe of eyes that look upward.
Happy Bubbles
Megan Willome

Megan Willome

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Megan is an editor at TS Poetry Press as well as the author of The Joy of Poetry and Rainbow Crow, a new picture book of poems written for children. Her day is incomplete without poetry, tea, and a walk in the dark.

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