Time for Idle Sunsets, Yet




Here lies my last self-spoken epithet:

I will keep time for idle sunsets, yet.


This life I’ve given love as I would get –

To keep my life of sunsets loving, yet.


Praying for nothing, only singing: Let

Me keep some time for silent sunsets, yet.


A time remembered one day to forget,

Yet I will keep some kindly sunsets yet.


For all too soon as every sun shall set

I will find time for finding sunsets yet,


And though it passes, never to regret

The idle sunsets ever passing yet.



This weekend has been one of the warmest and finest I have ever known: and just as every sunset though repeated is in truth unique, so every passing hour and day and year is unparalleled, perfect in itself. They pass and will never return, and this is a wondrous thing. Just like youth and beauty fade in the individual, but remain with us nonetheless. 

Inspired by, amongst others, Dylan Thomas, Thom Gunn and Seamus Heaney, I’ve used liberal quantities of internal rhyme, repeated refrains and a bittersweet tone to paint my own picture of a sunset, not described by virtue of colour or warmth, but by its transience and its emotive effect. 


2 thoughts on “Time for Idle Sunsets, Yet

  1. Dear James

    I can hear the echo of poets walking through the sunsets in your poem. I usually go out of the back gate to walk into the sunsets here. Remember the sunsets on the ramparts in Montreuil and the wonderful refection of the sunset on the wet sand of Sandwich Bay as we walked across the mud and sand and tide?

    Struggling to get back into my Kent life after Rome. Love from Gran

    Love from us both, Gran

    Sent from my iPad

    • Dearest G&G,
      I do love this one: but strangely, of the poems I wrote that day, I was actually most in doubt of this one. Echoes of the past, links from broken refrains, stretched shadows from long-set suns. This poem is simple, potent, but derivative. It’s palimpsest (my key theme) at its most prominent: a poem about poetry about sunsets.
      I remember all of these sunsets. Each one is unique. They return and are entirely different and should be cherished for the miracles they each individually are.
      In early September, before I move to London, I hope to drop by and see another sunset on the bay with you.

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