Poem: “The Sun Sets Into the Sea”

"The Sun Sets Into the Sea" (poem) Human Voices Wake Us

An episode from 7/19/21: Tonight, I read a poem of mine called “The Sun Sets Into the Sea.” It comes from my book Bone Antler Stone, which imagines the lives of those living in prehistoric Europe. In this episode, I both read the poem and give the literary and archeological inspiration for it. In this case, it is a passing remark by the Roman historian Tacitus, on the beliefs of some that the sun sets into the sea and perhaps even makes a hissing noise as it does so, was enough to get me started.

You can read more about the poem here. Here is the text of the poem:

The Sun Sets Into the Sea

The sun sets into the sea with a hiss
and rises with the sound of a driven wheel,
the creak of speaking stone, metal and wood.

The sun sets into the sea to simmer
and rises with the sound of stretched leather
and the song of the horse’s chain and bit.

The sun sets into the sea and is doused
and rises with the sound of reborn flame
rolling into another red morning.

The sun sets into the sea, and the sun
disappears down into extinguished light,
a golden disk diving to a dark blue.

But the sun rises as the night retreats
and rises like some cart out on the road
setting to the old labor of daylight,

a wounded wheel and an exhausted gear
chipped and scarred and with a battered hub
like an old mad father afraid to die.

But he always dies when winter comes and
sets colorless into the sea, grey sun
into the iron waves, the sound of sinking.

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