Poetry Friday: “Sunrise,” “Sunset”

Ok, ok, you can stop humming.  I figured pretty much everyone who came across this post would immediately start thinking Fiddler on the Roof, but what can I say…these are the two sister poems I’m presenting today, and I couldn’t really change their titles!

One morning last fall, I watched the sun rising outside my front window and colouring the clouds in the sky, and the phrase “pink and purple morning” popped into my head.   (Only a poet would understand just how exquisite such an occurrence is!)  Knowing I couldn’t let something like that get away from me, I sat down and wrote the first poem.  A day or two later, I came up with the second poem because – well, it just seemed the proper thing to do.

“Sunrise” is structured a little differently, because I wanted to combine proper meter and rhyme scheme with the style and sensibility of free verse – if that makes sense – because a beautiful sunrise is both an artistic and scientific phenomenon, and I thought trying to combine these two poetic styles might be nice.  I like the idea that we all may view the same sunrise at the same moment, but each one of us gets to see it from his/her own particular perspective; this is a theme I’ve touched on before, here.  “Sunset” is a little more traditional in form, only because I wanted it to be structured differently from “Sunrise”…and this is how it turned out!

I hope you like them.  The first photo was taken by yours truly from my house, after the brilliance of the sunrise was waning, unfortunately, but if you click it to enlarge you can see some of the detail I write about.  The sunset photo was taken by my 17-year-old daughter, and if you enlarge that, you’ll see how much better a photographer she is than her old man!  For more poetry, Linda at Teacher Dance has the complete Poetry Friday roundup!


Pink and purple morning, painted
sky above the earth;
sunlight bounces off the clouds in every hue.
Now a new day wakens; I am
witnessing its birth
from my own unique and special point of view.


A red sun sinks below the sky;
The time has come to end our day.
As starlight twinkles from on high,
Once more, the moon comes out to play.

– both poems © Matt Forrest Esenwine, 2012

19 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Sunrise,” “Sunset”

  1. Well, first, it helps that you have such a gorgeous view with the water and everything in the sunrise photo. I’m glad you reminded to enlarge. Both are so gorgeous. I love the rhythm/rhyme of sunrise, story-like. And the sunset is more like an evening prayer, or chant if you prefer. Thanks for the intro, too, Matt.


  2. Perfect juxtaposition – the hopeful morning, the contemplative evening…and those photographs are stunning, particularly the first, with “pink and purple morning, painted sky” reflected so beautifully.


  3. Beautiful duo, Matt. I like the last line of “Sunrise,” and how it brings us back to our own experiences of sunrises.

    “Sunset: has a lovely languorous feeling at the start (reminding me of Jane Kenyon’s beautiful poem “Let Evening Come”). The moon coming out to play picks up the pace, making it kid- (and adult-) friendly.


  4. Hi Matt, these are lovely poems. However, the first thought that came to my mind was not really Fiddler on the Roof but Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy’s movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I heard they’re also filming Before Midnight, that’s something to look forward to. Thanks for sharing your poetry this week. 🙂


  5. Pingback: the sunlight. « Sick with Poetry.

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