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Writing Prompt: Violent Skies


(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

The skies can be very violent. Storms are often used in poetry to symbolize chaotic feelings and events. What if you really thought about what kind of storm your feelings/this event are closer to than just a generic storm? If you will be writing a non-autobiographical poem, think about which storm best symbolizes your speaker’s feelings/the event.

Would you like more detail? Here’s a few ways to get it.

Think about the colors in storms. There are some storms I’ve never seen, but gray seems to be a common color. Do you see any other color? Is it gray because the storms are so boring now? I’ve seen pictures of red/orange skies and dark blue skies as well as gray. Are there other colors?

Think about the shapes. Lightning is jagged. It makes incomplete triangles so easily. More rare are the lightning bolts that make instant white-hot jagged networks. Storm clouds are dark and angry-looking. Are they still fluffy, maybe? Lonely in a crowd and getting angry and dark to cover for it?

Howling wind, gently drumming rain, pounding hail. What sound does snow make? Does the silence open up any fresh possibilities? Is it maybe light, or is it heavy? Is the weight soothing, or is it trapping? If you could hear snow fall, what would it sound like? Tornadoes and hurricanes blow windows out. How many different sounds could that event make? (Maybe not very many. I’ve not heard many windows break.) Tornadoes sound like trains. What else do they sound like? What do hurricanes sound like?

The air feels wet and heavy. The wind whips and embraces everything. The raindrops dance on your arms and hands. The cold soothes your head. What else?

The air smells clean. Or just…wet. There’s maybe a leafy scent in there. Do different storms have different scents to you? How does the smell make you feel? Does it remind you of kind things? It reminds me of my hometown, an Olympic city and headquarters of the faith I hold dear. But what does your mind bring to the surface when you smell the rain from storms? What about the smells of other results?

I hope this helps you in your writing.


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