Day 25: Sunset

Here is my third sestina of NaPoWriMo, I have tried but by the end stanzas, went for rhyming words, ran out of use for the repeating words. I didn’t have a very clear idea with this one until the end, so I think it needs a lot of editing. I took the end words from Ian McEwan’s book, The Cement Garden.


Who first painted a sunset?


The sea has been haunting the sky, sending messages upstairs

On the wings of seagulls, cart wheeling, cat calling, concentrating

Retaining in the end only the surface of the question and behind

That surface only the echo of an answer, never finished

An essay with countless crosses and ticks, the markers pen wheelbarrows

Across its pages. The sea is in the sky’s bad books again, gone grey as cement


To reflect its mood, the rolling clouds all heavy with aggression, hardened cement

Churning above water, coating its liquid with solid colour. A painter alone upstairs

Locked in a loft raging at the blank canvas, wrist deep in his lacquer, burrowing

Into his mind ferociously. So does the sky deepen its palate of shade, concentrated

Fumes of red, gold, blue intoxicate the sea like a man might with a woman finish

Off the last drink, buy her another, throat full of emotion and liquor prompting behind


The scenes that we descry. I learnt a choir of angels and God designed

The clouds, orchestrated the movements of rain and sun smooth as cars on cement

Roads busy navigating between city and sea, never knowing they will be finishing

Up in the sky, no matter what direction they follow. Its loneliness sucking us upstairs

As servants always sleep in the attic, we sleep and wake to the sky’s call concentrated

As a dream, a vision who is voiceless, yet full of sight as bricks fill a wheelbarrow


Constructing the drama of a sunset, a dusk, a dawning, the wheels on body’s barrow

Turning and spinning us towards the grave, never looking in front or behind.

The sea is restless under the sky’s weight, its abundance is concentrated

In waves constant as seagulls never ceasing cry. Bound with a pull like cement

Narcissist longings for one another, constantly looking, two cats each end of the stairs

Both posing sleek as seals, rain pelts smatter their faces, the painter is never finished


Always picking up their brush and attacking the white, a book unfinished

An eddy of pigment chasing itself in circles, ceaseless as the tire marks of barrows

Nature teaching art how to breathe, life to life, together they ascend the stairs

Winding up inside a lighthouse, gazing out, sky-height and sea face neatly aligned They are making up adverbs, mouth to mouth, changing sentiments

The wind thrashing their sentences into shapes which continually concentrate  


Endless repetition, beautiful as a kaleidoscope to a child who concentrates

On the patterns changing colours, fascinatingly unfinished, their sight famished

By humans overlays of the world by concrete, steel, cementing

The world together. For relief look to the sea, the sky, a wheeling sparrow

Visits both in its flight, seeking out South breezes salt tinged, behind

The disc of the sky is no one with no singing, banishment bodes up the stairs.


The stairs to get there hang between the painter’s brush, behind

His pastel scenes of country life, he concentrates on trying to finish, mind wheeling,

But is left with the borrowed plumes of a sunset, drying out to dusty cement.



The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in NAPOWRIMO Becca, Poetry Scrawls

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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