Sunset; a sonnet

Sunset on Brant Lake in the Adirondacks. photo by Kevin Belmonte,

Occasionally some friends and I  challenge one another to write a poem inspired by a common starting point, a phrase, a form, an image. this weekend we were given this fine photograph of a sunset, taken by the writer Kevin Belmonte. Here’s what I came up with. As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or on the ‘play’ button. As a bonus you can also click the link after my sonnet and read the sonnet Holly Ordway wrote in response to the same image!


We’re looking west to where our setting sun
Already out of sight, looks back at us, to fling
His dying splendour to these clouds. They burn
With borrowed gold and crimson, not their own,
Like strips of silk torn from his royal robe,
These flags of hope left by our solar king,
Who sinks for us below the dark horizon
That he might yet encompass all this globe.

He leaves us with the promise of his rising
For all we face the west of his decline,
Already some where else are voices praising
As on the east they glimpse a kindled line.
His setting is a herald of the morn,
We watch the sunset, but we tread the dawn.

now read Holly Ordway’s take on the same image:

Light and Water


Filed under christianity, imagination, Poems

11 responses to “Sunset; a sonnet

  1. Pingback: Light and Water: A Sonnet - Hieropraxis | Hieropraxis

  2. Marika

    Such an evocative re-phrasing of “as o’er each continent and isle…”.
    St Clement’s tune sang in my head as I read it but you added another dimension – thank you for sharing this!

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. Yes the two sources I had in mind when I was making this were of course ‘The day thou gavest’ as you rightly heard, and Donne’s Good Friday 1613 riding westward. I was really playing a variation on those given themes!

    • malcolmguite

      Plus of course a touch of CS Lewis!

  3. Beautiful – thanks for sharing it.

  4. So beautiful! For some reason it made me think of Frodo’s final farewell in Lord of the Rings. The ending of things blending with the beginning.

  5. Pingback: Sunrise to Sunset – Anadyr, RU and Adirondacks, USA | Life in Russia

  6. Hello, Wow you have no idea how wonderfully this sonnet is. The depth and heart to it are amazing. I myself create poems and sonnets, less often sonnets for what reason I’m not sure. The timing of finding your blog was perfect. I also blog but from Kazan, Russia. I was looking for a sunset in the Adirondacks when I found yours. I hope you don’t mind if I do a pingback to your blog for others to see where this incredible match up occurred. See I created recently what I call a special posting “Sunrise to Sunset” using a sunrise in Russia and sunset in the States as a comparative. My goal in creating them is to show the splendor of each country and for both to see the similarities of both. Again very much enjoyed your post. If you are interested come and take a look at:

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