Awe: The blue hour

In continuation of a series of posts on my guiding word for 2021, awe, I am celebrating the power of poetry.

For who among us was not filled with awe, listening to Amanda Gorman reading her inaugural poem?

Once again, we experience what words can do to inspire, unite, and heal.

Poems also paint a vision. Of things remembered, things hoped for things, things imagined…

Much as artists do on canvas.

Last year Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” took on a special significance for me. I wrote about it in The portal. For me, “The Starry Night” has become a symbol of looking beyond.

Van Gogh painted it while in the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. He didn’t paint what he saw from his windows, but what he imagined, maybe what he dreamed for, hoped for, in the innermost part of his suffering heart. Perhaps it was an act of faith.

All those blues and the night remind me of “the blue hour,” loosely defined as the time when blue wavelengths of the subhorizon sun paint the landscape at dawn or dusk.

Perhaps this had a hand in my recent spontaneous sketch of my word for 2021, awe. I depicted it as a sunrise, or maybe a sunset.

So now I ask myself: How is it that I imagine a rising or setting sun as “awe” in a metaphorical way? I think of van Gogh’s starry night, the blue hour, and the imaginings, the hopes, of my heart…which have turned into a prayer for the repairing of relationships. Does love not conquer all? What inspires more awe than that?

And so I wrote a poem.

I wove some of van Gogh’s quotes into it:

A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke

There is no blue without yellow and without orange, and if you put in the blue, then you must put in the yellow and orange too, mustn’t you?

Awe (The Blue Hour)


on the blue hour
at the falling away of day
and the coming of the night

with hope of stars

givers of dreams

singers of songs


that there is no blue
without yellow and orange

like the crackling fire
in our souls
beckoning one another
to stop, come and be warm

instead of passing by

in wisps of smoke

tendrils of wrongs


in electric-blue currents of memory
love survives
by anchoring itself
to the last blade 
of living grass


the color of forgiveness
in the blue hour

-F. Haley, 1/18/2021

-Walk in wellness, friends. Live and love deeply. Forgive. Keep your heart open for awe.

One of my masks

My original sketch of “Awe,” where the landscape spells it. Look for awe, and it will reveal itself.

The Starry Night version. The blue hour. How it all connects.


-shared in the Poetry Friday Roundup. Thank you, dear Laura Shovan, for hosting.

and with the Two Writing Teachers’ weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thank you all for continually illustrating the power of words, ideas, and shared stories.

37 thoughts on “Awe: The blue hour

  1. Fran, your thoughts build from post to post on your amazing one word awe that is bringing you such joy. Words bring power and yours are draped in art and writing. Reflecting deeply is always a part of your poste that connect images, ideas, and content. The Blue Hour poem resonates with for me in these beautiful words: awe
    in electric-blue currents of memory
    love survives
    Peace and continued inspiration to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am up before dawn and watch the sky from my desk, first a glimmer, then (sometimes) a chirp, the world gives me another day to love. Now as I read this, I’ve been watching another window for the colors I know will come at sunset. You’ve reminded me of your own “awe” as we connect today, a love of nature’s gift. Even at his lowest, I see that Van Gogh felt this, too. Beautiful post, Fran! I love your personal art & that mask, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Linda – lovely image of you at the windows, soaking up the glimmerings. It strikes at my heart that van Gogh painted Starry Night from his imagination, at his lowest – a departure from his usual painting of real scenery. How much awe would he feel to know it is now priceless and loved the world over?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an awesome post. Truly, the capturing of blue that cannot be without orange and yellow, the pauses you plant to give the reader time to collect. Simply beautiful writing. I am in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Holy wow, Fran, this is a lovely post – start to finish. I’m in ‘awe’ of your poem, your sketch and that mask! Your words, “the color of forgiveness in the blue hour” will carry me forward. :), Bridget

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Bridget – that is my favorite line of the poem and the one that formed first in my mind. The rest of the poem was built around it. So much awe in the ability to forgive; love is not love without it. Even if it doesn’t repair the relationship or change the forgiven, it heals and frees the forgiver.


  5. I’d never heard of the blue hour before, Fran. Thanks for introducing me to that idea! I especially like how it shows up in your line, “in electric-blue currents of memory.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Laura. That line is my nod to the hippocampus in the brain, which regulates memory and emotion – and to the ocean hippocampus, i.e. seahorse, one of my favorite symbols. The blue hour mesmerizes me. So poetic, isn’t it?


  6. I never tire of the awe that arises when I stop to watch a sunrise or sunset. Your poem captures a good bit of that. I love these lines: like the crackling fire
    in our souls
    beckoning one another
    to stop, come and be warm

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite lines are about how one color can’t exist without the others, and the color of forgiveness. Lovely! Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your connections of awe to blue to starry night. Love these lines: “like the crackling fire
    in our souls” inviting us in to sit by the fire. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your connections are electric, vibrant–Van Gogh to sunset to relationship repair, you take us right along with you down that stream. I loved learning about Van Gogh in high school art class; one of the first decorations I bought as a newly graduated teacher is a large poster of his “First Steps”, the greens pulling me in as the blues have done for you in “Starry Night”. I’d say you are off to a great start with your year’s theme of awe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny thing, Chris – I wouldn’t usually pick blue as one of my favorite colors; the “blue hour,” however, captivates me completely. Blue is the rarest color in nature – I think that is why I link it to forgiveness. Many thanks, Chris. I will think of you now, every time I see First Steps. Green for growth and energy – and a pause in the daily grind to throw open one’s arms. You’re a natural nurturer. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love how you are the kind of writer who builds and weaves connections so gracefully and purposefully. I always leave your blog FEELING- and learning something new. You are “awe”some!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You have really outdone yourself with this poem. Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists and there is something so ethereal about his work. Much like his work so is your poem. There’s something so simple yet evocative. The line about crackling fire and souls is my personal favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anna Maria. Why does it not surprise me that we enjoy the same artist? I am happy to know that line of crackling fire in our souls is your favorite – for you ARE one of those warm souls.


  12. “love survives /
    by anchoring itself /
    to the last blade /
    of living grass” …YES. There is so much of everything IN everything. The yellow and orange in blue. The night, bringing hope of stars. All of these things, mixing together on our human palette: awe. love. forgiveness. LOVE.

    Beautiful stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fran, “awe” is a perfect word for you. Your writing always brings me awe as it has done, again here. Amanda’s words and performance definitely left me in awe. What an amazing young lady; I look forward to hearing more from her. You mention the words inspire, unite, and heal. These words and joy are words I feel reading your posts and I also feel them in so many other poetry Friday blogger’s posts. I am so happy and appreciative of the sharing and spreading of love all of you give. All of you have helped so much.

    Van Gogh has inspired me since HS and I love how you have painted his words and his inspiration in your poem and post. I love your poem and find it difficult to find favorite lines, but possibly these lines shout out most to me:
    “in electric-blue currents of memory/love survives/by anchoring itself/to the last blade/ of living grass.” Your repetition of the words awe, blue hour, and blue are a good effect. Thank you for reminding me of the phrase, the blue hour. I always look for the shades of blue in the sunset. Thank you for your gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your words are a gift to me, Gail – always. That you use “joy” in this regard makes me feel I have contributed something good to the world, which was my hope when I began this blog (plus making myself write more!). That is seahorse imagery in those lines you mention – you may have read in my other responses that it is a symbol for me, as a writer. The scientific name is hippocampus and we have hippocampi in our brains, regulating memory and emotion. Someday I will tell the whole story of my blue hour poem – there’s much more awe attached – and Van Gogh plays a starring role in it. Know that you have added a bright spot of joy to my day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Fran. I am honored that you think my words are a gift. I am happy that my words have brought you joy as your words always bring me joy. You certainly bring good to the world through your words as I know you do in many other ways. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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