Sandburg Center for Sky Awareness
A Fairfax County Public Schools Planetarium

Sandburg Sky Poetry | Other Sky Poetry | CSMS Student-Authored Sky Poetry | SCSA Home

Teacher Resources - Sky Poetry & Song (including Sky Art)

A few points to consider regarding the instructional design of a sky poetry unit:

The following resources may be useful in planning, implementing, and evaluating a sky poetry unit:

Sky Songs

Remember, songs are poems! The following songs may be either studied as poetry or used as the "music bed" of sky-related slide shows. For example, Twilight Time is a song filled with vivid imagery as well as many examples of the six poetic techniques taught during the sky poetry unit. On the other hand, the SCSA has used Little Fluffy Clouds as the music bed of a "skyscapes" slide show (as opposed to landscapes) featuring approximately 30 compelling cloud images downloaded from the Internet (refer to SCSA Themes/Increasing Your Sky Awareness/Clouds, clouds, and more clouds!). The slide show images are used--with great success--to inspire students to write their own sky poems. [Recommended slide show software: GraphicConverter or JPEGView (Mac); LView or ACDSee (PC); or MS PowerPoint (cross-platform).]

The following list is by no means complete. Please send the name/performer of songs to add to the list: wsanford@wsanford.com

Miscellaneous Day Sky/Weather
  • Little Fluffy Clouds - Orb
  • Both Sides Now (Clouds) - Joni Mitchell
  • Blue Skies - Frank Sinatra
  • Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz)
  • Singing in the Rain - Gene Kelly (An American in Paris)
  • Stormy Weather - Various Artists
  • Stormy Monday - Allman Brothers Band
  • Love Reign over Me (good thunderstorm/rain at the beginning) - The Who
  • Riders on the Storm - The Doors

Sun

  • Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas...) - They Might Be Giants
  • Sunrise, Sunset - Fiddler on the Roof
  • Twilight Time - The Platters
  • Me and My Shadow - Jimmy Durante
  • I'll Follow the Sun - Beatles
  • Here Comes the Sun - Beatles
  • You are my Sunshine - Bing Crosby

Moon

  • Harvest Moon - Leon Redbone
  • Moonshadow - Cat Stevens
  • Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra
  • Moondance - Van Morrison
  • Pink Moon - Nick Drake
  • R.C. Cola and a Moon Pie - NRBQ
  • By the Light of the Silvery Moon - Doris Day
  • Moon River - Henry Mancini (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
  • Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven
Planets
  • Venus and Mars - Paul McCartney and Wings
  • Venus - Frankie Avalon

Stars

  • When You Wish Upon a Star - Walt Disney (Pinocchio)
  • The Impossible Dream (Unreachable Star) - Robert Goulet (Man of LaMancha)
  • Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) - Don McLean
  • Swingin' on a Star - Bing Crosby

Miscellaneous Night Sky

  • Galaxy Song - Clint Black
  • Meteor Shower - Seely
  • Catch a Falling Star - Perry Como
  • Space Oddity (Major Tom) - David Bowie
  • Space Cowboy - Steve Miller Band
  • Hey, Mr. Spaceman - The Byrds
  • Slippin' into Darkness - War
  • Lost in Space - TV Themes

Sky Art

Like Sandburg, Vincent van Gogh was a keen observer of both the day and night sky--for both men, the sky was a rich source of inspiration to produce beautiful art and poetry. While Van Gogh was a post-impressionist, his night sky paintings (notably Cafe Terrace..., Starry Night over the Rhone, and Starry Night) are quite realistic in their depiction of the sky. Starry Night over the Rhone, painted in September 1888, shows the Big Dipper low on the northern horizon (as it actually appears during Fall evenings). A side-by-side comparison between Van Gogh's Starry Night (June, 1889) and a modern star map suggests strongly that the constellation Aries, the Ram is prominently featured in the painting. It's especially noteworthy that Van Gogh's sign of the Zodiac was Aries (Van Gogh's birthdate: 30 March 1853). Starry Night also shows the Moon, Venus, and the Milky Way (as seen from two different perspectives: edge-on; and bird's eye view).1

1   Personal communication, Dr. Sidney Perkowitz, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Dr. Perkowitz speculates that Van Gogh was influenced by the third Earl of Rosse's telescope-aided drawings of "spiral nebulae," circa 1850.


Sandburg Center for Sky Awareness | Sandburg Middle School