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

sound icon A More Perfect Color of the Sky

 

Three 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 ocean. And sometimes the sky is many blues at once.

Some Blue Skies Are Like That

 

During the pandemic 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. But 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.”

 

Submission Details

 

When your poem feels complete, consider submitting it to us for publication. Send poem, headshot, brief biography, and links to your social media and website (if applicable) to: share@chronic-joy.org


#AudioBlog💿

Which Blue Sky Do You See Today?

by Megan Willome | Read by Megan

More Poetry Prompts

The Whole Psalm • Poetry Prompt

Psalms as poetry - some of it is sound from the first note to the last, some have verses with a bouncy hook, and some sections should probably not be spoken aloud in polite company.

The Whole Psalm
Megan Willome

Megan Willome

Chronic Joy® Poetry Coordinator

Megan is a contributing writer for Wacoan magazine in Waco, Texas, the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, and Magnolia Journal. She is also an editor at T.S. Poetry Press and the author of The Joy of PoetryShe lives in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes and edits from home. Links to her work can be found at her website, meganwillome.com and Twitter. Megan's day is incomplete without poetry and tea.

NEXT STEPS

Mountain Breezes

Amy Carmichael

An anthology of most of the poetry of Amy Carmichael - 565 poems gathered from her published books. The untitled poems were given titles and all were arranged by the editors under seven major headings: Worship, Petition, Surrender, Ministry, Wartime, Encouragement and Youthful Thoughts.

LEARN MORE.

The Joy of Poetry: How to Keep, Save & Make Your Life with Poems

Megan Willome

Part memoir, part humorous and poignant defense of poetry, this is a book that shows you what it is to live a life with poems at your side. Megan's story is one you won't want to put down; meanwhile, her uncanny ability to reveal the why's and how's of poetry keeps calling—to even the biggest poetry doubter. If you already enjoy poetry, her story and her wisdom and her ways will invite you to go deeper, with novel ideas on how to engage with poems.

LEARN MORE.

Consolations

Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

David Whyte

52 ordinary words, each its own particular doorway into the underlying currents of human life. Each word inviting readers into a poetic and thoughtful consideration of words whose meaning and interpretation influence the paths we choose and the way we traverse them throughout our lives.

LEARN MORE.

Poetry in a life with chronic illness.

Poetry • Ministry of Verse

Poetry invites us to notice and to explore – the symptoms, confusion, loss, grief, and uncertainty of chronic pain and illness; to collect the moments and small victories; and to discover God’s still small voice in brand new ways.

LEARN MORE.

Listen by Barbara Crooker

Counted Worthy

Notecards, Postcards & More

Letter-writing is a vital and life-giving ministry not only to those who are hurting, grieving, recovering, homebound, lonely, ill, depressed, or isolated, but to the writer as well.

Encourage and inspire others by putting #PenToPaper with one (or more!) of our creative notecard or postcard collections. How about tucking one of our professionally printed guides in the envelope?

Support the mission and ministry of Chronic Joy with every purchase from the Chronic Joy Store.

We pray and serve, we create and give, and God ignites change one precious life at a time.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share with your friends!