Cloud Watching


unnamedRecently, I’ve been turning to Nature with a bit of desperation, seeking solace from the ever-increasing barrage of disaster and tragedy.  In particular, I’ve been looking at the clouds and the sky a lot.  I’m captivated by the changing light and the shifting clouds. There can be such drama in the sky at one moment, and utter tranquility at the next.

Wispy clouds
tiptoe across blue skies
to congregate
in fluffy cumulus pools

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

I see the sunrise most days. No matter my mood, the grandeur and beauty of it move me. On one recent morning, the sky was threaded with clouds, and the dawn light show was truly dazzling. As the sun rose, the illuminated cloud color shifted with an interplay of brilliant reds, pinks, dark greys, dazzling lines of white. The grandeur of it cut straight through me. Meanwhile, the regular morning report of chaos and hatred spilled from my radio. I’ve been struggling to capture the intensity of that moment. A moment when I felt overwhelmed by the power of Nature and the magnitude of beauty on such an awesome scale, but simultaneously comforted by it, while also feeling overwhelmed by our capacity for hatred and destruction, yet in some ways more fundamentally aware of its, and my, ultimate insignificance. Still working on this one…


The blood-red rising sun
licks the clouds
kindling them
into a fiery crimson glow

A river of
grief streams
from the radio

Bedazzled by the sunrise,
I flounder in the flood
of cruelty and tragedy
How can such blazing glory
coexist with such madness?

The piercing beauty
of those backlit clouds
overwhelms me
rips me asunder
yet comforts me
and completes me


Molly Hogan (c) 2017

I’ll end with a hopeful cloud-related thought from Yvette Pierpaoli, a humanitarian who devoted her life to refugees. She wrote, “though at the level of the individual our actions are as light as a cloud, united they can change the color of the sky.”


Foggy sunrise


23 thoughts on “Cloud Watching

  1. Your opening verb! “The blood-red rising sun
    licks the clouds” Who would have thought of that? Quite the writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Molly,
    Appreciations for reminding me to look UP, not down.
    I’m gong to the window this moment & then as soon as I can

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, the sky offers such inspiration and comfort to me, too. It is ever changing and ever fascinating and oh-so-difficult to put in words. You’ve got a good start on capturing the contradictions of the sky in its grandeur with that daily barrage of bad news. I agree that that opening image and verb is powerful and unexpected and just right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Kay. This is a poem I’ll continue to tinker with. I’ll let it rest for a bit and hope to find inspiration when I return to it. Maybe there will be some composting happening that will yield new growth!


  4. dmayr says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely!


  5. lindabaie says:

    I don’t see sunrises very much anymore, miss facing the east, but lots of sunsets, & always love each one as you’ve written about your own love of the rises, Molly. The poems are gorgeous, and I especially love that first stanza of ‘Paradox’. Wow, licking the clouds is a new idea & lovely. I’m glad for you that those sights comfort. I take much solace in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. maryleehahn says:

    I’m with you in every emotion in this post. When I can’t process another single atrocity that comes in the news, I let go of it all and go outside where the timeless march of nature calms me. (Even there, I can get tangled up in negatives, if I think too much — all we are doing to wreck our planet…our Mother…how could we????)

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m right in those tangles with you, Mary Lee. It’s so scary to think about all that we’re doing to abuse our planet and how we impact so casually and callously that “timeless march of nature.”


  7. I’m with you, Molly. Luckily, city or country, the sky is there to provide us with a horizon to yearn toward, a color bridge to the future and a pillow to dream on.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    My school is on an open field so I get to see the sunrise in the mornings. Our dining room windows face the sunset, so my day is bookend with beauty this time of year! Beautiful picture with such words to ponder on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tabatha says:

    It certainly is a river of grief streaming from the news, isn’t it? And horrifyingly bad behavior. It’s necessary to turn away and find solace and comfort elsewhere. Thanks for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. margaretsmn says:

    I talk with my students about word choice creating tone. Your poem starting with the blood red sun sets that angry tone then moves to the radio and your very human confusion. I, too, watch the sunrise every morning. On Friday, I stopped my car to take a picture of it. I decided not to worry about those who saw me because maybe they would be drawn to notice, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The news drives me to despair, also. I don’t know what the answer is, so I’m holding onto Yvette Pierpaoli’s wise words and your lovely foggy sunrise photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Individutal action, “as light as a cloud,” beautiful and so true. Your poem is strong and the title is perfect, such a “Paradox” we have today. I too am thankful for nature and the solace it offers, thanks Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

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