Skip to main content

The Little White Cloud That Cried ~ a Poem

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.


Writing a Poem Inspired by a Word Prompt and/or a Song

Writers get their inspiration from so many places. Each of us is different, and where and when our muse strikes maybe somewhere shared by many, or unique to only us. Whatever works for you should be embraced and nurtured.

Recently my inspiration has been found primarily in word prompts and songs. The funny thing about the songs that are inspiring my poems though is that none of them seems to be a recent hit that is getting a lot of airplay but instead are very old tunes that are embedded and just resurfacing from my memory.

So is the case with this poem 'The Little White Cloud That Cried.' I recall the song of the same name that was one of my mother's favourites, and she sang as a lullaby to get me to sleep (how good is my memory?) Well, this is a song that has just hung around in my mind and the decision by Brenda Arledge to offer us the word prompt "Clouds" this week brought this memory alive. (See "Word Prompts Help Creativity ~ Week 30.)

I remember the singer Johnny Ray was actually famous for shedding tears as he sang, so this song suited him perfectly. The song always sounded so sad, but when I checked out the lyrics I found them to be more basic than I remembered, and so I added to them somewhat.

So here I give you my poem inspired by both a word prompt and a song from my childhood. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Text added by PicFont

Text added by PicFont

The Little White Cloud That Cried

As I lay down on the hillside

watching the clouds float by,

I suddenly noticed to my surprise

a little white cloud that cried.

I felt his tears drop on my face

as he hovered above.

He told me he felt so lonely and sad,

and that he was in disgrace.

He said the cumulonimbus

said he could start the storm,

Scroll to Continue

but he couldn’t make thunder and lightning,

so the cloud felt sad and forlorn.

He tried to generate lightning,

but all to no avail.

And without a flash, no thunder would roar,

so as a storm cloud he failed.

The cloud told me he was lonely,

which caused his tears to fall.

“All the storm clouds think they’re important

and better than us all.”

I said, “Don’t cry little white cloud,

at least you did your best.

It isn’t succeeding that matters most,

for trying you should be proud.”

Image by Keli Black from Pixabay

Image by Keli Black from Pixabay

His tears, they stopped for a moment,

“Do you think so?” He asked.

His fluffy cloud face transformed to a smile,

slowly losing its torment.

“Imagine how our world would be

if all clouds were storm clouds.

There would be no sunny white clouded skies,

that would be sad don’t you see?”

Storm clouds have their place, that is true,

but small white clouds do too.

We need sun showers on a hot summer’s day,

so that is why we need you.

Storm clouds always try to impress,

at least it seems that way.

When the lightning flashes and thunder booms,

scared, and inside, people stay.”

“Thank you my friend, for your advice,”

said the little white cloud.

“I am sorry I shed tears down on you,

you made me feel really proud.”

He asked, “Can You please tell all your world

how hard the little clouds try?”

That’s how I know I’ll always remember

the little white cloud that cried.

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

The Original Song and History

"The Little White Cloud That Cried" was a popular song written by Johnnie Ray and published in 1951.

The biggest hit version was recorded by Johnny Ray and The Four Lads in 1951. The recording was released by Okeh Records and went to number two on the Billboard chart that year. It was also released on the flip side of "Cry," which reached number one on the Billboard chart. On the Most Played Juke Box Rhythm & Blues Records chart, it went to number six.

Since that time many other artists have covered the song. That list includes:

  • Ronnie Dove
  • Vera Lynn
  • Doris Day
  • Semprini
  • The Fleetwoods
  • Wayne Newton
  • Jamie Redfern
  • Chris Isaak
  • Stan Freberg did a parody on the Johnnie Ray song "Cry," entitled "Try," which he sings "Even Little White Clouds Do It."
  • Jewish comedian Mickey Katz recorded a parody called "The Little White Knish that Cried."

The beauty of white clouds: Every morning brings new clouds and sunshine.

— Lailah Gifty Akita

Johnny Ray

John Alvin Ray (January 10, 1927 – February 24, 1990) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. He was highly popular for most of the 1950s and has been credited as a major precursor to what became rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music, and his animated stage personality. Tony Bennett called Ray the "father of rock and roll," and historians list him as a pioneering figure in the development of the genre.

British Hit Singles & Albums noted that "Ray's heart-wrenching vocal delivery of 'Cry' ... influenced many acts including Elvis, and was the prime target for teen hysteria in the pre-Presley days." Ray's dramatic stage performances and melancholic songs have been credited by music historians as precursory to later performers ranging from Leonard Cohen to Morrissey. (Wikipedia)

Cloud Quote

“Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton... I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by... If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations... What do you think you see, Linus?"
"Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean... That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor... And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen... I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side..."
"Uh huh... That's very good... What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?"
"Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!”
― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960

Other Cloud Inspired Poems

  • Grey Skies or Blue? - a Poem
    This poem asks the question, "why do people blame their moods on the weather?" After all, it is really up to us to control our moods and feelings no matter what the situation, weather etc. It is too easy to place the blame on other things rather than
  • Of the Thunder of Hooves, a Poem
    Storms have always been one of the favourite subjects for poets to capture and describe in their poetry. This is just another such poem about storms, and part of my "Off the Shelf" series.

© 2021 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2021:

Great to get comments from you again, Li-Jen. Thank you for your kind words about my poetry, and yes, all types of clouds have an important place. Good to have you back.

Li-Jen Hew on September 19, 2021:

Hey Jodah. You poems have made coming back to HubPages worth it as always. I liked that the poem proved that it is good to have a balance between white clouds and stormy clouds. Little white clouds also deserve a place in the world! You are good at storytelling.The little things we tend to fail to observe.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2021:

Hi Maria, I am happy if my poetry acts as a reminder for pleasant past memories. So glad you liked the little white cloud and the message. Thank you.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on September 18, 2021:

Oh, what a sweet little white cloud. This poem reminded me of my days (long ago) of looking for shapes in the puffy clouds.Thanks for bringing up a sweet memory with such a great message.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2021:

Thank you, Bill. I think it is a timeless message that we should use the skills and attributes we have and not try to be what we are not. I am glad you remembered the original song and think I did it justice.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 18, 2021:

Well done, John. I am familiar with the Johnnie Ray version of the song. Your poem delivers a positive message that is certainly as relevant today as when the song was first written. It’s great that you have such wonderful memories of the song from your childhood. Have a great weekend.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2021:

Hello Vidya, I am so glad that you liked this response to the word prompt. Yes, it is great when we can use our childhood memories for our creative pursuits. I always loved the song. Thank you for reading.

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 18, 2021:

Such a wonderful response to Brenda's word prompt John. This is an adorable poem. I loved your conversation with the little white cloud and the message in it. It's so nice that the word prompt reminded you of your mother's lullaby. Childhood memories are so dear to us, we remember them always. The song if Johnny Ray and the cloud quote are also nice. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hello Lora. Glad to know you loved the poem and the song. Little white clouds that are forever changing shapes and giving us the occasional shower are the best. Yes, our memories are precious. All the best.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Rodric, it is great to have you back. I hope you are feeling much better now and have regained your inspiration to write.

I am extremely pleased that you enjoyed this article and that there was a lesson for you in the poem. Take care.

Lora Hollings on September 17, 2021:

I love your poem, John, and the song which it was based on. I don't like storm clouds, just the little white clouds that are always changing shapes are my favorites. It is amazing how beautiful memories that we form as very young children stay with us throughout our lives! You did a wonderful job with this prompt. Your poem was just delightful.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on September 17, 2021:

John, I have been gone for 2 months with writer's block and doing physical therapy to get my daily self-support back. Your article was the best way to come back to the scene!

It has been so long since I've looked at a cloud with interest, let alone read a poem about one! Thanks for the incite. I loved how the cloud wanted to be something bigger, but just being what it was brought so much joy in the lives of others and help in the form of liquid sustenance. I needed to read that.

I feel like the cloud and receive my gentle chastisement. My rain falls on all the people who need me in their lives, and I don't need to be full of the rage of lightning and thunder to rain my love on them. Thanks, man.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you Nithya. I appreciate your kind comment. Yes, it is good to relive childhood memories in our writing.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 17, 2021:

A wonderful response to the word prompt “clouds”. All the more special because it brought back memories of your mother’s lullaby. I loved the little cloud and the conversations that you have creatively incorporated in this poem and delivered a message.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

I love your comment, Alyssa. I am glad you enjoyed this poem and its message.

Alyssa from Ohio on September 17, 2021:

Your writing always blows me away! What a creative response and an uplifting, encouraging message. I also enjoyed learning about the song and artist. Have a wonderful weekend!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hello Flourish. I am glad you liked the Little White Cloud character, and that I expanded your knowledge in regard to the song. Thanks for the congrats on the hubby award.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 17, 2021:

Thanks for sharing this enjoyable little character with us. I hadn't heard of that song, so thanks for providing some context. Your HP award was well deserved.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you for reading this AB, and for your comment. I am glad this poem enabled you to relive those fond childhood memories.

Yes, when I saw a quote by Charles M. Schultz I had to use it evven though it had too many words for a “callout” capsule. Take care.

A B Williams from Central Florida, USA on September 17, 2021:

This takes me back to my childhood; lying in the grass or in the driveway, looking up at the clouds, it was one of my favorite things to do, as a child. I practically lived outside; it was clouds during the day and looking up at the stars and the lightning bugs {aka: fireflies} at night. Such wonderful memories, thank you for taking me back.

Also, I love that you quoted Charles M. Schultz, I am a big fan.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you, Shauna. Sometimes the child in me comes out and I enjoy writing things like this poem. I am glad the positive message shone through, and that I introduced you to the song for the first time. Yes, I agree with you in regard to the Charlie Brown quote too. I never saw anything so elaborate in the clouds either.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 17, 2021:

I love your version of "The Little White Cloud That Cried", John. The conversation between the cloud and the boy is enlightening and has such a positive message, as much of your poetry is apt to do.

I've never heard the song before now. Thank you for sharing it.

The Charlie Brown quote made me chuckle. I, too, saw much simpler images when I'd cloud-gaze as a child.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

I always look forward to your in-depth comments on my work, Brenda. You have wonderful insight. I also appreciate you taking the time to read the other poems I gave links to, but glad you loved ‘The Little White Cloud That Cried’ the best. Have a wonderful day and coming weekend.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 17, 2021:


Wow! That's a great memory to remember a lullaby sung to you by your mother.

I'm glad my little word prompt, along with that song brought this memory to center stage for you.

Your poem based on the song, "The Little White Cloud That Cried" definitely has a strong message.

I can picture one lying on the hillside as the tears from that little cloud hits him in the face.

This little cloud trying so hard to be something he is not, just to be like the others.

He has a special purpose all on his own & he helps make the day a little brighter for all of us.

No matter what Be yourself.

Always do your best.

If you try, you are not a failure.

I've never heard this song before, but I did listen to it on YouTube before I saw it listed below.

I enjoyed the video you shared with us more than the one I found.

What a great memory to have.

I love the information you shared with us on Johhny Ray and this song.

The cloud quote by Charles Schulz reminds me of myself.

I love picturing things in the clouds.

Your link to your poem," Grey Skies od Blue" shows us a different side of how a rainy day can make us feel.

Giving us relief from the heat & relaxing us.

It's up to us to decide our own mood, even on a cloudy day.

Your link to "Of the Thunder of Hooves, a Poem" shows how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye.

Is is God showing us his disappointment as the thunder rolls?

A very powerful piece written here.

Great writing. I really loved the Little Cloud the best.

I'll post it in the word prompt article.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hi Peggy. With all the artists that have covered the song it is a wonder you haven’t heard it at some stage. That said, I can only recall hearing two or three versions. I am happy that you enjoyed both the poem and the song. I wish you also many little white clouds ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Well, you may not have any little white clouds, but storms have their own beauty. I am glad you liked my interpretation of the song, and thank you for the congrats etc. Have a great day and weekend ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hello Chitrangada.

Thank you as always for reading my poem and your lovely comment. How can you ever forget a song your mother sang you as a lullaby, right?

I am glad my poem did the song justice. Have a great weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2021:

What a great poem you created based upon that song. Believe it or not, I do not remember ever hearing that song. I enjoyed hearing it at the end of your article. Thanks! Wishing you many little white clouds in the days and years ahead.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 17, 2021:

I remember the song for sure. Today we have no little white clouds. For the first time since June 13th, we have angry storm clouds, and it is beautiful. Loved your interpretation, John! Congratulations on the Hubbie Award. It was well-deserved. Turns out I can still pick a winner!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 17, 2021:

Hello John!

What a wonderful response to the word prompt, clouds! It is more special because it’s inspired by the lullaby, which your mother sang for you. Sweet memories! The old songs are my favourite too.

I loved the dialogue, through your beautifully crafted poem. Loved everything about this creative piece, including the video at the end.

Thank you for sharing!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

It is great to receive your comment, Eric. It is always good to reconnect with some old songs from the past isn’t it?

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 17, 2021:

Truly the songs of the past continue to be in my present. Thanks for a wonderful poem and a reminder of the great ones.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hello, Pamela. It is good that you enjoyed the article, and particularly the poem. Glad that it brought back memories of the song also. Take care.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 17, 2021:

I loved your poem, John. I had not thought of that song, (which I enjoyed listening to) in a very long time.

Your poem is so cute as the little white cloud now feels better about himself. This is a very interesting article, and a good response to Brenda's word prompt.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you so much, Rinita. I am glad you enjoyed the poem, especially the dialogue. The video of the original song is at the end of the article. "Cumulonimbus" is a great name for a cloud don't you think?

Rinita Sen on September 17, 2021:

Wow. The personification of the cloud and the dialogue with the human were both extraordinary. I haven't heard the original song but it could not be better than this I'm sure. Oh and I had to look up 'cumulonimbus'. Lol. Thanks for a new word

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you, Fran. Johnnie Ray was quite a performer. I am glad you enjoyed the poem and the song.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on September 17, 2021:

John, I loved that poem and Johnnie Ray was always a favorite of mine. Thanks for your poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Hi Misbah, it is good that this was the first thing you read today. I am glad you liked the message and that you liked those lines in particular. Have a great day ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

Thank you very much, Umesh. I appreciate your generous comment.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on September 17, 2021:

This was a very delightful read, John. I just woke up and getting ready to go out of the city today with family. Your poem is the first thing I have read in the morning. I am sure the day will go well. Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem with a beautiful message. I especially liked these lines:

"Storm clouds have their place, that is true,

but small white clouds do too."

Take care and be happy.

Blessings Always!!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 17, 2021:

This is really very very nice and beautiful composition. Well done, John, I liked this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2021:

Hi Teodora, I greatly appreciate your kind comment. I am glad you appreciate the little white cloud character.

Teodora Gheorghe on September 16, 2021:

What a wonderful story! I loved the message of the poem and the little cloud is a delightful character.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2021:

Thank you so much, Ishika. Glad you enjoyed this. Have a great day yourself.

ISHIKA MEHERE from NAGPUR on September 16, 2021:

It was amazing john. It was a enjoyable read, Hope you have a great day ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2021:

Thank you for being the first to read and comment, Rosina. Yes, you understood the message of the poem perfectly. We should be happy with our own lot and not jealous of what others have or can do. I hope the small problem you mentioned is sorted now. All the best.

Rosina S Khan on September 16, 2021:

Lovely poetry and a great response to Brenda's prompt, "Clouds". I think The Little White Cloud That Cried has a lesson for us all. We should all be satisfied with our own lot and be proud instead of focusing on lack and scarcity. Thank you, John, for your wonderful poetry.

Related Articles