monday verse: the fury of sunsets

sunset over the Cézallier
sunset over the Cézallier

cold is in the air,
an aura of ice
and phlegm.
All day I’ve built
a lifetime and now
the sun sinks to
undo it.
The horizon bleeds
and sucks its thumb.
The little red thumb
goes out of sight.
And I wonder about
this lifetime with myself,
this dream I’m living.
I could eat the sky
like an apple
but I’d rather
ask the first star:
why am I here?
why do I live in this house?
who’s responsible?

The Fury of Sunsets by Anne Sexton

I don’t know for sure, but I assume that this poem, or lines from it, inspired the This Mortal Coil song The Horizon Bleeds and Sucks Its Thumb. It’s basically an instrumental, apart from some indecipherable and rather sinister chanting low down in the mix, so there are no clues to be found in the lyrics. It does have an appropriately apocalyptic feel to it though. It appears on their 1986 album Filigree and Shadow. Just one more reason, if it were needed, to love the poem.

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