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Autumn Sunset

by Zettel 

Posted: 11 August 2007
Word Count: 31

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Autumn Sunset

The old woman looked
towards her sunset
and through a space
of gentling time
saw a moment
of incandesence
from her youth
and smiled
in the love
of memory

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Comments by other Members

Tina at 09:18 on 13 August 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel

I really enjoyed this - especially

and through a space

of gentling time

saw a moment

of incandesence

Very contained and economical use of words - with a big impact on the reader

Zettel at 15:42 on 14 August 2007  Report this post
thanks tina


Shika at 20:36 on 14 August 2007  Report this post
Oh I love this. Simple and true. A beautiful poem. S

James Graham at 20:21 on 16 August 2007  Report this post
I also like this very much. Clearly, even before we read on, the opening lines ‘looked/ towards her sunset’ means looked towards death; but somehow an actual sunset is present in the image too, and I see the old woman looking out of her window in the evening. The idea is picked up just once more in ‘incandescence’, where I imagine the orb of the setting sun as well as the brightness of her memory of youth.

The particulars of the moment in her youth that she remembers are kept from us - and it’s absolutely right that they should be, for two reasons. As readers we can do some of the work of imagination that reading the poem requires; all good poetry demands that the reader should be active. We can guess what kind of moment is meant. The other reason is that implicitly the old woman’s privacy is respected. When she smiles, nobody should even imagine saying to her, ‘A penny for your thoughts’. The poem keeps its penny in its pocket, and the old woman is allowed to keep her memory to herself. There’s a delicacy in this short poem that I like very much.

‘a space/ of gentling time’ is a fine phrase.

I’m not sure the poem needs to be double spaced. Its strength is in its conciseness, and double spacing visually contradicts that. It could either be single spaced throughout, or there could be a double space after ‘time’ and after ‘youth’ making sections of 4, 3, and 3 lines. These breaks would be justified because with each of them the poem is moving on.


Zettel at 09:53 on 17 August 2007  Report this post
Thanks Em and J. Glad you liked it.

James - I usually space my poetry at 1.5 as that retains the sense of conciseness you speak of but to my eye 'opens-up' the thought a a little. I have also wanted to experiment with physical form but that doesn't appear to be possible either. EG Ihave I have a poem of 5 verses that can be read in any order and I would like to display them in say a 'five' shape (like a dice) but cant think of how to do that on WW.

thanks again


James Graham at 21:12 on 17 August 2007  Report this post
Unfortunately you can't post anything on WW that has an unusual format. But your poem of five verses that can be read in any order is intriguing. Why not try putting each verse in a separate quote box, with instructions to the reader to imagine them as cards to be shuffled?


joanie at 20:53 on 19 August 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel, I haven't read any comments - deliberately. I do love the quietness and calm acceptance here. Lovely. I feel like I'm almost there!!


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