The way the sun
creeps over a shoulder
enters, moves about the room

appreciative, accommodating
as a pleasant guest
admiring now this, now that—
the way it warms,

brightens when recognized
the way a cherished friend
after long absence
tenderly is met
with smiling eyes—

the way it’s faraway
yet here in hand
today, ethereal gold—

the way this oldest thing
never gets old.

70 responses »

  1. “…admiring now this, now that…” – you’ve captured every room in my life. Such quiet, unobtrusive patience… Autumnal, yet Printemps as well. Ethereal gold is just peeping through my kitchen window now!

    • Thank you for that observation, David. The sun is sometimes too much, and it isn’t then so appreciated, but it really is just warm and accommodating sometimes, like an old friend.

  2. There are so many contradictions concerning the sun, Apollo’s orb: during the day we feel its presence, at night it retreats into a stertorous slumber; it is massively huge, though during last evening’s sunset performance, it seemed no larger than a coin; it is hot like hellfire, though I had a shiver last night.

    I think you covered the rest of them, though there are certainly more redoubtable dichotomies, necessitating more poems, thankfully.

    • Is the sun Apollonian, rather than Dionysian? Maybe so; we need no intoxicants other than its natural self to enjoy or be driven mad by it. There will probably be more poems about its ambiguities, as long as there still is a sun. I like your coin sized sun, and I hadn’t thought of it as snoring and snuffling at night, but I’m going to listen for it now.

      • I was going to write: it seemed no larger than a coin, a large shiny one, dipped in lamb’s blood.

        Is the sun Apollonian? Why of course! Apollo was the god of the microwave oven, adult diapers, bubblegum ice cream, and the sun. Truly a multifaceted god.

        • A large shiny coin dipped in lamb’s blood…now there’s an image screaming with silent allusions, nothing less than which I would expect from a word magician such as you, Prospero.

          As to the inventions of Apollo, they are a mixed blessing. I understand the practicality of adult diapers and can appreciate a certain minimal use of the microwave oven when all you want to do is heat, rather than cook…..but bubblegum ice cream? Why? It’s been rumored that Apollo also invented Tang, Velcro and Teflon, but that’s an urban myth; those were more likely the inventions of mere mortals who believed that something can be new under the sun.

          • Tang and Telfon are most certainly apocryphal tales, but Velcro! George de Mestral, whose middle name is quite coincidentally Apollo, invented the sticky stuff, and astronauts of every stripe rejoiced unreservedly; however and unquestionably, Apollo, multifarious god par excellence, slayer of feral pigeons in public squares, invented the space diaper and, if my research is is deemed credible, elevator music.

            • Oh…I would have thought Georges de Mestral’s middle name was “de.” I learn so much from you, dear Prospero!

              Velcro is, in my estimation, one of the wonders of the world, (probably more than seven by now) and worthy to have been inspired by Apollo….but I think it was inspired by Mother Nature….one day when Mestral was out walking his dog in the puckerbrush (a Maine expression) and came home with burrs on his britches. The dog, too, was covered with them (burrs, not britches) and when George examined how they stuck to fur/fabric— Eureka!—he had the idea for “velcro,” (from velour and crochet).

              As kids, we used to call those burrs tickseeds, or stickweeds, and loved hiding behind a bush and tossing them at the backsides of hapless, clueless old ladies wearing long wool sweaters. Just another fun autumn thing to do!

              • Well, in an effort to correct the record, Apollo was a nickname given to Georges and originally conferred to him in the bordellos of Spain and France. Alas, I have no further information on the fellow’s sojourns during those formative years and can only speculate on the precise meaning of Apollo in that voluptuous context.

                But it surprises me that you were were part of a criminal gang of burr slingers in your youth. Although I suppose I should not be, as a poet is a criminal of sorts–banned for making appearances in the cinema, fiction, popular song, and even some dirty limericks.

                • Right you are, mon semblable, mon frère, about that aura of criminality. But all of my limericks are pure and clean as the driven snow…at least those I post on WordPress are so….

  3. Listening to you read this poem I was so reminded of my once early morning musings on watching the sunrise – this life giving, mythological, mysterious centre of our universe. This thing that would be better to worship than the money that has supplanted it ……………. Beautiful images, beautifully spoken. Thank you!

    • Those were exactly the circumstances that occasioned the penning of this little poem, Pauline….morning musings, the sun rising, and some of those timeless, mysterious moments. Thank you so much for reading and appreciating it!

  4. This just encapsulates watching the sun move around a room, which I love to do when I can. And the way it visits certain things, like a caller on rounds. Ethereal gold. Wonderful.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I first started watching the sun move around a room and from room to room many years ago when I saw that my dog followed the sun for her naps during the day in a circle from the east to the west facing windows of a city apartment. It’s a luxury, as you suggest, for us busy humans but lovely when possible….heartwarming and conducive to gratitude.

  5. I feel that sun on my shoulder like a friendly, reassuring hand, the way it and real friendship never gets old. This poem feels like gold, Cynthia. There’s a richness to it that’s also calm and warm. It makes me want to lie down and stretch out in it with a cat.

    • I love that stretching out with a cat image, Susanne. That’s exactly the feeling that engendered this poem….a bit more like that, than stretching out to bake oneself on a beach, for example, and more, as you suggest, the mellow richness of the sun in its gentler visitations.

    • I agree, M-R, that “like” button covers a multitude of meanings, but not always the ones we really want. (It’s especially annoying when you want to say you like the messenger or the manner, but not the message).

      You must be enjoying this kind of gentler, friendlier sun, now that it’s spring in your part of the world. I forget if you ever mentioned your favorite time of year….though I know that, like me, you hate the heavy hotness. Hope there’s some loving sunshine on your days these days….

  6. Thank you Cynthia! Apart from the writing skills course and some socialising, we’re to be in a film as total amateurs! I dare say a very short part, but daunting, none the less. Life throws up some interesting hurdles from time to time. This poet we met has certainly thrown our lives into a whirl wind. These poets are such quiet achievers!! ❤

    • An older poem, Thomas, from when I was working primarily in that mode. The imagists certainly had a great influence on our poetry, and still “define” poetry, in many people’s minds today…especially now with the proliferation of American haiku and micropoetry.

      Dealing with “the image,” though, has a lot more to it than is popularly surmised. Your Ethel is a master at it; but she’s also a visual artist, so that helps.

      I posted this poem about the sun for a change of pace, I guess, and though I keep imagery paramount, I am much more wrapped-up in experiments with traditional forms and sound/meter these days. Thanks so much for coming by to read!

  7. It never does get old, does it?!!! 😀 I think you’re right, it is a cherished friend. I often admire the way it casts pretty shadows on walls – it’s own unique shadow art. This is quite lovely, to write about the sun as a friend. And of course it truly is, because without it, nothing, including us could live. We probably don’t appreciate it nearly enough. Your poem will make look at the sun very differently from now on. Thanks for your beautiful inspiring words Cynthia! 🙂

  8. This Cynthia just may be my all-time favorite of your work. The streaming warmth of the touching sun beams will no longer be ordinary but a rush of incredible appreciation of a dear old friend.

  9. Pingback: Our beautiful brains | Green Writing Room

  10. ….the image I grasp most fondly here is that of the sun’s ‘creeping shoulder’, that snuggling sort of way it sidles across the mountain facing our front window and then, ‘bam!’, creeps no longer but reigns instead. Painting outdoors is very telling, simply because the sun won’t stay still, of course, and moves across fields and trees the same as it does rooms, forcing painters to either move brushes as quickly as it, or mentally memorize the shadows which were there only a minute ago and now aren’t. On another note, what I cannot seem to manage is partitioning the sun from the drummed-in equation that it represents time–how its movement somehow signals a pang that such-and-such best get done because the day ‘is getting long’. No doubt the day will come when ‘such-and-such’ can’t get done, and I’ll simply appreciate the sun for itself without ticking strings. I love how your work triggers many thoughts.

    • …and I love when someone takes what they find in a poem and runs with it! The sun is so often portrayed as a very strong, even invasive thing, but that’s certainly not all it is. Perhaps it’s we who make it “partitioned” as you describe it, ticking strings. I enjoy your description of it from the point of view of one painting outdoors. It’s so easy to forget, isn’t it, about impermanence, and how fleeting is the moment. But there’s another moment taking its place! So glad you enjoyed this one, Lance. Thank you!

  11. Beautiful Cynthia! (I see ‘exquisite’ has already been used!). Captures so many images and meanings! The eternal sunshine of life brought into daily life as a close friend with such consummate skill. Warms the heart and soul!

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