Theme Friday: Sunset


I wake to sleep and take my waking slow/I learn by going where I have to go. Theodore Roethke

Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. (I think I made you up inside my head.) Sylvia Plath


Sunsets should come with a warning she thought, as the orange of evening was lost to the shadows. She drew closed his bedroom curtains, put the coffee on, and readied for her father’s burn and rage.

She pulled up a chair and watched his shrouded head awhile. The plain white sheet, mummy-tucked in at head and toe, had fooled more than one clinician. In awhile he drifted but found demons there and woke up hollering.

It’s not a holler you’d recognize from the ball field or The Friendly. There’s a crunch of shrapnel and heartbreak in it.

[She’d asked him once, when they lived on the hill, “Did you ever kill a man, Dad?”

“Yes” he’d said. And he’d cried then, like Missouri men do. Pulled out his hankie and mopped his face, and got his voice back before he continued.

“But they tell me that’s all right in a war.”]

She said his name and pulled back the cover from his sweet, bald head. “Hey, Dad. You’re dreaming. Everything’s all right. You can go back to sleep now.”

He looked toward the window and said he didn’t think so.

“Sure you can” she said. “I’m your Forward Observer now.”

“Oh…” He pretended a dismissive wave. “You’re not trained for that position.”

She felt good hearing him laugh.

“No worries. I learn by going where I have to go.”

They laughed together. He looked at the clock’s single digits and said, “Your big brother could help us, you know.” She thought it over and said, “No, Dad. I really don’t think he could.” She reminded him her sisters were arriving the next day. He nodded and fell back to sleep. In the morning she woke him for his medicine and said, “We made it!” He nodded and smiled a “Well, I’ll-be-damned.”

He rested easier then, in the daylight, so when he closed his eyes she did, too, and dreamt of the war, of his villains and her villanelles.

Christine and Annie (who selected this week’s theme) take on Sunset.


14 Responses to “Theme Friday: Sunset”

  1. plditallo Says:

    …oh boy… girlfriend. this is a rough one to read through.

  2. Something in the voice just gets me so roughly. It is plain-speak, but so much under the skin of it.

    I read it and felt like DAMN!

    I love your voice. I love how you write life. And death. Memory.

    • clancyjane Says:

      I second all those likes about you. I call your “like DAMN” and raise you two “Whoa”s. And I thank you, too.

  3. […] is watching the sun here from → Life, sunset, theme fridays ← A Naked Act of Aggression? No […]

  4. […] Annie’s sunset- Glen’s sunset- […]

  5. Susan Williams Says:

    I am in tears. You’ve conveyed mental anguish in simple dialogue and brief description. As others have said, I love your VOICE.

  6. Anonymouse Says:

    Rare & special gift to make a known new, a human experience personal, to write everything, entirety, with few & powerful words, to take in, then give back with value added. Reading you is another reason I look forward to Friday.

  7. Though this piece spoke of tragic things I found a real comfort in it. The connection of the father and daughter spoke to me. It’s funny how that can of closeness can travel the darkest nightmares and result in smiles and laughter.


    • clancyjane Says:

      Thanks, Annie. That you found comfort in it– what a nice feeling for me to know that.

  8. Oh, all my favorite quotes on such an elegant and somber background.

    “I should have loved a thunderbird instead
    At least, when spring comes they roar back again…”

    Hope I got that right. I did it from memory. That is one of the first poems ever to catch my heart. I read it inside my copy of The Bell Jar as a teenager.

  9. clancyjane Says:

    Thanks, everyone.

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