Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Difficulty of Writing Sunsets

This month's fiendish assignment from Colin Brown of Poetry Can is to write an original poem about a sunset.  Time, then, to dig out some photos ... 

Look, here's a sunset viewed from an unnamed road on the edge of Southmead in Bristol.  I took it one freezing January afternoon, a fortnight before my marriage fell apart ...



and here's Leeds being all dark and satanical just a couple of months earlier ...



... while this sunset is pouring down the tors of my beloved Dartmoor into the River Teign ...


... and sliding into the sea beyond Worms Head.


Being a bit of a swot, I've done my homework already and it'll pass muster.  But it's basically a debunk job and that irritates me because it's an admission that I don't know how to write a serious and passionate poem about something that's not only so beautiful as to verge on the ineffable, but has also become ... well, hackneyed.  By which I mean I don't know how to do it without stomping all over the graves of Hallmark greeting card versifiers past.

I took the photo below from a ridge south of Shepton Mallet.  There I was, a lone, middle-aged divorcée with pretensions to writing poetry, standing next to her ineptly parked automatic car and looking wistfully westwards towards Glastonbury Tor, that mecca for menopausal women who've exchanged serving their husbands for worshipping the Goddess.  The only thing that saved me from total cliché was the fact that I'd left my dog at home. (Yes, I know - 'Well, at least he'll be company for you!')

With the exception of my newborn babies, it's the most beautiful sight I've ever seen.  It was so sublime I felt my heart seize up. The camera knows how to depict it. But I don't believe I have the words. 





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