Across A Divided Sky

Divisions and decisions.

Ominous clouds of utter blackness,
Billowing in their ranks,
March across the low horizon
Like artillery, soldiers, tanks.
They move in angry opposition
With malice thru and thru
Against the sky’s content condition
Of golden, gilded blue.
And those who watch the signals
See signs from up on high,
Painted in prophetic vision
Across a divided sky.

First the whisp’ring wind comes forth
With disturbance on its wings,
Followed by woeful thunder
And the fear its portend brings.
Then stabs of flashing lightning—
A long way off but, yet,
Forewarn of coming battle
And of rains both cold and wet.
But don’t let distance fool you;
Storms move with speed to fly
And soon will crash upon you
Across a divided sky.

And when the two sides clash at last,
The war will then commence—
With truth and light on one side
Contra evils, dark and dense.
Still, most will be caught unawares
And, oh! the sorrows there will be!
It’s splashed across the clouds, you know,
In the crimson red we see.
Blood from fools and fallen millions
Who in agony will die,
Reflected in the haunting heavens
Across a divided sky.

So, in this halting stillness
What will you choose to do?
Ignore the din and darkness
For the peaceful gold and blue?
Or will you take this moment
To trim your lamps with care
To store protection’s oil
And prudently prepare?
For if you look around you’ll see
Mounting signs you can’t deny
Arrayed below and up above
Across a divided sky.

Moving is never easy, even if you are only going next door or down the street.  But, when you pull up roots and move halfway across the country, it is even worse.  The sorting, boxing, selling, packing, leaving, and trying to start over again is very stressful.  However, it does lead to a host of new experiences.

Some of those new experiences are the sunsets.  After living in an area surrounded by mountains, the new place of residence has none at all.  Somehow, without the jagged peaks interrupting the skyline, it makes the heavens seem much more expansive.  And, across that wider canvas, the Master Artist has even more paint to spread.

The other night, just at dusk, a storm began rolling in.  Dark and menacing clouds began to creep low across the horizon from the south.  However, the northern end of the sky was still brilliant blue.  With the sun sinking lower, it tinged the azure blue with a soft, golden glow.

. . . And still the dark clouds marched closer.

Then, as the last rays of fading sun disappeared in the west, suddenly the bottom of the encroaching clouds were dyed with the most amazing, chilling, crimson red.  It was stunning and foreboding and inspiring and thought-provoking all at once.  Racing for my phone, I snapped a picture.  The angle wasn’t quite right, and I ran through the yard trying to get a better shot.  But, just as quickly as the scarlet blushed, it was gone.

Unbeknownst to me, my brother was a few miles away driving west at the exact same time.  He, too, was stunned by the sunset and pulled over to snap a picture.  He sent it out in a family group chat titled, “Divided Sky”.

Though the photo I got does not do the actual experience justice, I could not stop thinking about it or the title my brother came up with.  A couple days later, I went to bed and pulled up the image again.  Something about it seemed so relevant and ominous.  Not being able to sleep, I began to write what I saw and felt in the picture; and, finally, early in the morning of Halloween Eve, I finished this poem.

Relating the experience to our current world events, I could not help but be reminded of something from President Russell M. Nelson.  After expressing his optimism about the future and the miracles in store before Christ comes again, he says this:

“But I am also not naive about the days ahead.  We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. . . .  If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.

“. . .[I]n coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

There will be added light and truth in the days ahead.  But there will also be a commensurate increase of hatred and evil—the dark and roiling clouds in contrast to the peaceful, azure sky.  And there will be casualties.  Already we see them—physically and, even worse, spiritually.  I hope we can be prepared as the conflict increases.  For the signs are there: spoken by prophets, recorded in scripture, and painted in the heavens above . . .

. . . across a divided sky.

Written: October 29/30, 2022

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