The evening spreads across the sky,
The sovereign sun secedes,
The jamboree of day recedes
Into a symphony
Of warbling, squabbling, burbling birds.
The ether’s yellow light is lost,
The coloured flowers fade
Into a thickening twilight shade
Pregnant with a hóst
Of secret, soundless mystery.
And soon the night will gather up
All mortal and immortal life
Into her dárk and lovely lap,
From where again will rise the sap
Of day, and stréaming sunlight say:
‘Drink deep, drink deep of my golden cup.’
There is something ethereal about the mellow light of the evening, especially when it is filtered through the green of the trees. Fading slowly away as the night falls (rises?), to catch a glimpse of this magical light has always been one of the happinesses of my evening runs through the IISc campus. The poem itself may have grown old (it’s from mid-2015) but this quotidian wonder remains undimmed.
I suspect the idea of the sun’s “golden cup” may have been inspired by a Yeats poem, “Those Dancing Days Are Gone”, with its lines “I carry the sun in a golden cup.|The moon in a silver bag.” What’s more, if I’m not mistaken, I believe Yeats himself credited another poet for the image.
Note: The opening stanza may be the best one I’ve written. It’s certainly one of my very favourites. I remember being on the NIAS campus at the time line 3 struck; sitting outside in a chair with a book in my hand as I enjoyed the blue of the early evening sky and a sense of well-being brought on by the rays of the mellowing light. Just behind me, to my left, were bougainvillea bracts the colour of faded pink – which contrasted starkly with the deep magenta of the bracts found on other parts of the well-maintained campus. To this day, I remain partial to that wonderfully deep magenta colour.