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Sunset Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Sunset, Woven of Soft Lights by Katharine Lee Bates
  2. Out of the Sunset's Red by William Stanley Braithwaite
  3. A Walk at Sunset by William Cullen Bryant
  4. Sunset by Anonymous
  5. Sunset by Emily Dickinson
  6. The Juggler of Day by Emily Dickinson
  7. The Coming of Night by Emily Dickinson
  8. A Day by Emily Dickinson
  9. Dying by Emily Dickinson
  10. The Sea of Sunset by Emily Dickinson
  11. Sunset by Emily Dickinson
  12. In Gold Lacquer by Bliss Carman
  13. Sunset by Laurence Dunbar
  14. Sunset by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  15. At Sunset by Madison Cawein
  16. Sunset in Autumn by Madison Cawein
  17. At Twilight by Bliss Carman
  18. November Twilight by Bliss Carman
  19. Winter Twilight by Bliss Carman
  20. Spring Twilight by Madison Cawein
  21. Sunset by Ruby Archer
  22. Storm-Sun by Ruby Archer
  23. Sundown by John Charles McNeill
  24. Golden Gate Sunset by William Henry Dawson
  25. Sunset by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  26. A Bowl of Roses by Elaine
  27. Garden Dusk by Grace Hazard Conkling
  28. Sunset in the Golden Gate by W. E. Hutchinson
  29. Amid the Pines at Sunset by Ada A. Mosher
  30. The Golden Sunset by Samuel Longfellow

  1. The Sunset, Woven of Soft Lights

    by Katharine Lee Bates

    The sunset, woven of soft lights
    And tender colors, lingers late,
    As looking back on all day's dreary plights,
    Compassionate;

    — The foolish day of hopes so high,
    Who counts her hours by blunders now,
    Yet wears at last this jewel-crown of sky
    Upon her brow.

    Out to eternity she goes,
    Not for her failure scorned, but see!
    Our poor day flushed with beauty, one more rose
    On God's rose-tree.

  2. Out of the Sunset's Red

    by William Stanley Braithwaite

    Out of the sunset's red
    Into the blushing sea,
    The winds of day drop dead
    And dreams come home to me. —
    The sea is still,— and apart
    Is a stillness in my heart.

    The night comes up the beach,
    The dark steals over all,
    Though silence has no speech
    I hear the sea-dreams call
    To my heart; — and in reply
    It answers with a sigh.

  3. A Walk at Sunset

    by William Cullen Bryant

    When insect wings are glistening in the beam
    Of the low sun, and mountain-tops are bright,
    Oh, let me, by the crystal valley-stream,
    Wander amid the mild and mellow light;
    And while the redbreast pipes his evening lay,
    Give me one lonely hour to hymn the setting day.

    Oh, sun! that o'er the western mountains now
    Goest down in glory! ever beautiful
    And blessed is thy radiance, whether thou
    Colourest the eastern heaven and night-mist cool,
    Till the bright day-star vanish, or on high
    Climbest, and streamest thy white splendours from mid-sky.

    Yet, loveliest are thy setting smiles, and fair,
    Fairest of all that earth beholds, the hues
    That live among the clouds, and flush the air,
    Lingering and deepening at the hour of dews.
    Then softest gales are breathed, and softest heard
    The plaining voice of streams, and pensive note of bird.

    They who here roamed, of yore, the forest wide,
    Felt, by such charm, their simple bosoms won;
    They deemed their quivered warrior, when he died,
    Went to bright isles beneath the setting sun;
    Where winds are aye at peace, and skies are fair,
    And purple-skirted clouds curtain the crimson air.

    So, with the glories of the dying day,
    Its thousand trembling lights and changing hues,
    The memory of the brave who passed away
    Tenderly mingled;—fitting hour to muse
    On such grave theme, and sweet the dream that shed
    Brightness and beauty round the destiny of the dead.

    For ages, on the silent forests here,
    Thy beams did fall before the red man came
    To dwell beneath them; in their shade the deer
    Fed, and feared not the arrow's deadly aim.
    Nor tree was felled, in all that world of woods,
    Save by the beaver's tooth, or winds, or rush of floods.

    Then came the hunter tribes, and thou didst look,
    For ages, on their deeds in the hard chase,
    And well-fought wars; green sod and silver brook
    Took the first stain of blood; before thy face
    The warrior generations came and passed,
    And glory was laid up for many an age to last.

    Now they are gone, gone as thy setting blaze
    Goes down the west, while night is pressing on,
    And, with them, the old tale of better days,
    And trophies of remembered power, are gone.
    Yon field that gives the harvest, where the plough
    Strikes the white bone, is all that tells their story now.

    I stand upon their ashes, in thy beam,
    The offspring of another race, I stand,
    Beside a stream they loved, this valley stream;
    And where the night-fire of the quivered band
    Showed the gray oak by fits, and war-song rung,
    I teach the quiet shades the strains of this new tongue.

    Farewell! but thou shalt come again—thy light
    Must shine on other changes, and behold
    The place of the thronged city still as night—
    States fallen—new empires built upon the old—
    But never shalt thou see these realms again
    Darkened by boundless groves, and roamed by savage men.

  4. Sunset

    by Anonymous

    Now the sun is sinking
    In the golden west;
    Birds and bees and children
    All have gone to rest;
    And the merry streamlet,
    As it runs along,
    With a voice of sweetness
    Sings its evening song.

    Cowslip, daisy, violet,
    In their little beds,
    All among the grasses
    Hide their heavy heads;
    There they'll all, sweet darlings,
    Lie in the happy dreams.
    Till the rosy morning
    Wakes them with its beams.

  5. Sunset

    by Emily Dickinson

    A sloop of amber slips away
    Upon an ether sea,
    And wrecks in peace a purple tar,
    The son of ecstasy.

  6. The Juggler of Day

    by Emily Dickinson

    Blazing in gold and quenching in purple,
    Leaping like leopards to the sky,
    Then at the feet of the old horizon
    Laying her spotted face, to die;

    Stooping as low as the otter's window,
    Touching the roof and tinting the barn,
    Kissing her bonnet to the meadow, —
    And the juggler of day is gone!

  7. The Coming of Night

    by Emily Dickinson

    How the old mountains drip with sunset,
    And the brake of dun!
    How the hemlocks are tipped in tinsel
    By the wizard sun!

    How the old steeples hand the scarlet,
    Till the ball is full, —
    Have I the lip of the flamingo
    That I dare to tell?

    Then, how the fire ebbs like billows,
    Touching all the grass
    With a departing, sapphire feature,
    As if a duchess pass!

    How a small dusk crawls on the village
    Till the houses blot;
    And the odd flambeaux no men carry
    Glimmer on the spot!

    Now it is night in nest and kennel,
    And where was the wood,
    Just a dome of abyss is nodding
    Into solitude! —

    These are the visions baffled Guido;
    Titian never told;
    Domenichino dropped the pencil,
    Powerless to unfold.

  8. A Day

    by Emily Dickinson

    I'll tell you how the sun rose, —
    A ribbon at a time.
    The steeples swam in amethyst,
    The news like squirrels ran.

    The hills untied their bonnets,
    The bobolinks begun.
    Then I said softly to myself,
    "That must have been the sun!"

    * * *

    But how he set, I know not.
    There seemed a purple stile
    Which little yellow boys and girls
    Were climbing all the while

    Till when they reached the other side,
    A dominie in gray
    Put gently up the evening bars,
    And led the flock away.

  9. Dying

    by Emily Dickinson

    The sun kept setting, setting still;
    No hue of afternoon
    Upon the village I perceived, —
    From house to house 't was noon.

    The dusk kept dropping, dropping still;
    No dew upon the grass,
    But only on my forehead stopped,
    And wandered in my face.

    My feet kept drowsing, drowsing still,
    My fingers were awake;
    Yet why so little sound myself
    Unto my seeming make?

    How well I knew the light before!
    I could not see it now.
    'T is dying, I am doing; but
    I'm not afraid to know.

  10. The Sea of Sunset

    by Emily Dickinson

    This is the land the sunset washes,
    These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
    Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
    These are the western mystery!

    Night after night her purple traffic
    Strews the landing with opal bales;
    Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
    Dip, and vanish with fairy sails.

  11. Sunset

    by Emily Dickinson

    Where ships of purple gently toss
    On seas of daffodil,
    Fantastic sailors mingle,
    And then — the wharf is still.

  12. In Gold Lacquer

    by Bliss Carman

    Gold are the great trees overhead,
    And gold the leaf-strewn grass,
    As though a cloth of gold were spread
    To let a seraph pass.
    And where the pageant should go by,
    Meadow and wood and stream,
    The world is all of lacquered gold,
    Expectant as a dream.

    Against the sunset's burning gold,
    Etched in dark monotone
    Behind its alley of grey trees
    And gateposts of grey stone,
    Stands the Old Manse, about whose eaves
    An air of mystery clings,
    Abandoned to the lonely peace
    Of bygone ghostly things.

    In molten gold the river winds
    With languid sweep and turn,
    Beside the red-gold wooded hill
    Yellowed with ash and fern.
    The streets are tiled with gold-green shade
    And arched with fretted gold,
    Ecstatic aisles that richly thread
    This minster grim and old.

    The air is flecked with filtered gold,—
    The shimmer of romance
    Whose ageless glamour still must hold
    The world as in a trance,
    Pouring o'er every time and place
    Light of an amber sea,
    The spell of all the gladsome things
    That have been or shall be.

  13. Sunset

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The river sleeps beneath the sky,
    And clasps the shadows to its breast;
    The crescent moon shines dim on high;
    And in the lately radiant west
    The gold is fading into gray.
    Now stills the lark his festive lay,
    And mourns with me the dying day.

    While in the south the first faint star
    Lifts to the night its silver face,
    And twinkles to the moon afar
    Across the heaven's graying space,
    Low murmurs reach me from the town,
    As Day puts on her sombre crown,
    And shakes her mantle darkly down.

  14. Sunset

    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    Round appearing,
    Illuminant fire,
    Built in space,
    Shedding heat,
    Traveling westward;
    Your photosphere
    Conflicts
    With dwindl'ing light
    Of stricken day,
    At dying hour.
    Emerging from
    The reek appears
    At distant edge of earth,
    A straightened rainbow
    Reaching far into the sky—
    You are an artist, Sun!

  15. At Sunset

    by Madison Cawein

    Into the sunset's turquoise marge
    The moon dips, like a pearly barge
    Enchantment sails through magic seas
    To fairyland Hesperides,
    Over the hills and away.

    Into the fields, in ghost-gray gown,
    The young-eyed Dusk comes slowly down;
    Her apron filled with stars she stands,
    And one or two slip from her hands
    Over the hills and away.

    Above the wood's black caldron bends
    The witch-faced Night and, muttering, blends
    The dew and heat, whose bubbles make
    The mist and musk that haunt the brake
    Over the hills and away.

    Oh, come with me, and let us go
    Beyond the sunset lying low,
    Beyond the twilight and the night
    Into Love's kingdom of long light
    Over the hills and away.

  16. Sunset in Autumn

    by Madison Cawein

    Blood-coloured oaks, that stand against a sky of gold and brass;
    Gaunt slopes, on which the bleak leaves glow of brier and sassafras,
    And broom-sedge strips of smoky-pink and pearl—gray clumps of grass
    In which, beneath the ragged sky, the rain pools gleam like glass.

    From West to East, from wood to wood, along the forest-side,
    The winds,—the sowers of the Lord,—with thunderous footsteps stride;
    Their stormy hands rain acorns down; and mad leaves, wildly dyed,
    Like tatters of their rushing cloaks, stream round them far and wide.

    The frail leaf-cricket in the weeds rings a faint fairy bell;
    And like a torch of phantom ray the milkweed's windy shell
    Glimmers; while, wrapped in withered dreams, the wet autumnal smell
    Of loam and leaf, like some sad ghost, steals over field and dell.

    The oaks, against a copper sky—o'er which, like some black lake
    Of Dis, bronze clouds, like surges fringed with sullen fire, break—
    Loom sombre as Doom's citadel above the vales that make
    A pathway to a land of mist the moon's pale feet shall take.

    Now, dyed with burning carbuncle, a limbo-litten pane,
    Within its walls of storm, the West opens to hill and plain,
    On which the wild-geese ink themselves, a far triangled train,
    And then the shuttering clouds close down—and night is here again.

  17. At Twilight

    by Bliss Carman

    Now the fire is lighted
    On the chimney stone,
    Day goes down the valley,
    I am left alone.

    Now the misty purple
    Floods the darkened vale,
    And the stars come out
    On the twilight trail.

    The mountain river murmurs
    In his rocky bed,
    And the stealthy shadows
    Fill the house with dread.

    Then I hear your laughter
    At the open door, —
    Brightly burns the fire,
    I need fear no more.

  18. November Twilight

    by Bliss Carman

    Now Winter at the end of day
    Along the ridges takes her way,

    Upon her twilight round to light
    The faithful candles of the night.

    As quiet as the nun she goes
    With silver lamp in hand, to close

    The silent doors of dusk that keep
    The hours of memory and sleep.

    She pauses to tread out the fires
    Where Autumn's festal train retires.

    The last red embers smoulder down
    Behind the steeples of the town.

    Austere and fine the trees stand bare
    And moveless in the frosty air,

    Against the pure and paling light
    Before the threshold of the night.

    On purple valley and dim wood
    The timeless hush of solitude

    Is laid, as if the time for some
    Transcending mystery were come,

    That shall illumine and console
    The penitent and eager soul,

    Setting her free to stand before
    Supernal beauty and adore.

    Dear Heart, in heaven's high portico
    It is the hour of prayer. And lo,

    Above the earth, serene and still,
    One star —our star —o'er Lonetree Hill!

  19. Winter Twilight

    by Bliss Carman

    Along the wintry skyline,
    Crowning the rocky crest,
    Stands the bare screen of hardwood trees
    Against the saffron west, —
    Its gray and purple network
    Of branching tracery
    Outspread upon the lucent air,
    Like weed within the sea.

    The scarlet robe of autumn
    Renounced and put away,
    The mystic Earth is fairer still, —
    A Puritan in gray.
    The spirit of the winter,
    How tender, how austere!
    Yet all the ardor of the spring
    And summer's dream are here.

    Fear not, O timid lover,
    The touch of frost and rime!
    This is the virtue that sustained
    The roses in their prime.
    The anthem of the northwind
    Shall hallow thy despair,
    The benediction of the snow
    Be answer to thy prayer.

    And now the star of evening
    That is the pilgrim's sign,
    Is lighted in the primrose dusk,—
    A lamp before a shrine.
    Peace fills the mighty minster,
    Tranquil and gray and old,
    And all the chancel of the west
    Is bright with paling gold.

    A little wind goes sifting
    Along the meadow floor,—
    Like steps of lovely penitents
    Who sighingly adore.
    Then falls the twilight curtain,
    And fades the eerie light,
    And frost and silence turn the keys
    In the great doors of night.

  20. Spring Twilight

    by Madison Cawein

    The sun set late; and left along the west
    A belt of furious ruby, o'er which snows
    Of clouds unrolled; each cloud a mighty breast
    Blooming with almond-rose.

    The sun set late; and wafts of wind beat down,
    And cuffed the blossoms from the blossoming quince;
    Scattered the pollen from the lily's crown,
    And made the clover wince.

    By dusky forests, through whose fretful boughs
    In flying fragments shot the evening's flame,
    Adown the tangled lane the quiet cows
    With dreamy tinklings came.

    The sun set late; but hardly had he gone
    When o'er the moon's gold-litten crescent there,
    Clean Phosphor, polished as a precious stone,
    Burned in fair deeps of air.

    As from faint stars the glory waned and waned,
    The crickets made the oldtime garden shrill;
    And past the luminous pasture-lands complained
    The first far whippoorwill.

  21. Sunset

    by Ruby Archer

    To sunset water quivering in a blush
    Appeals the glory of the sunset sky
    Down gazing—an imploring conqueror—
    With eyes that love to eyes awakening.

  22. Storm-Sun

    by Ruby Archer

    Come and marvel at the sunset!
    Lo—a storm is brooding near,—
    All the thirsty world imploring,
    In a mood akin to fear.

    Like a beaker in her fingers
    Holds the world the valley high,
    Mountain-lipped and cañon-hearted,
    To the largess of the sky.

    But the sky, capricious ever,
    Hides the storm unbroken still;
    And the pallid, sun-born nectar
    Doth the beaker brimming fill.

    See the weirdly golden essence
    Lurk along, the shades between,
    'Till it drowns and rolls above them
    In triumphant glare of sheen.

  23. Sundown

    by John Charles McNeill

    Hills wrapped in gray, standing along the west;
    Clouds, dimly lighted, gathering slowly;
    The star of peace at watch above the crest—
    Oh, holy, holy, holy!

    We know, O Lord, so little what is best;
    Wingless, we move so lowly;
    But in thy calm all-knowledge let us rest—
    Oh, holy, holy, holy!

  24. Golden Gate Sunset

    by William Henry Dawson

    Oh, the beauty of a sunset
    Viewed from San Francisco Bay!
    It just seems to make the soul let
    Loose from earth and fly away
    To a land of love and glory—
    To a feast of sweet repose:
    Language cannot tell the story—
    He who sees it, only, knows.

    Oh, the loveliness of sunset,
    Viewed from 'Frisco's Golden Gate!
    It lifts the soul where it can get
    A glimpse of heavenly estate.
    Soul that's weary—heavy-laden,
    Bent beneath the chastening rod,
    When it views a golden sunset,
    Touches hands with Nature's God.

  25. A Picture

    by William Osborn Stoddard

    Saturday night: the sun is going down;
    The purple light glows on the river’s breast,
    Far in the east the dull clouds watch and frown,
    Jealous of all the glory in the west;

    The listless trees lean out along the shore
    To watch their shadows lengthen down the tide;
    And, far above us, slowly floating o’er,
    The weary birds on homeward pinions glide.

    The steamer, on the sand-bar fast asleep,
    Tired with the week’s long labor, heavily lies;
    Longer and longer still the shadows creep,
    And evening mists from out the distance rise.

    All things in peace and patience seem to wait,
    As if in faith that, when the morning came,
    The sun would once more light his golden gate
    With all the glory of his entering flame.

  26. Sunset

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I saw the day lean o'er the world's sharp edge,
    And peer into night's chasm, dark and damp.
    High in his hand he held a blazing lamp,
    Then dropped it, and plunged headlong down the ledge.

    With lurid splendor that swift paled to gray,
    I saw the dim skies suddenly flush bright.
    'Twas but the expiring glory of the light
    Flung from the hand of the adventurous day.

  27. Ashes of Roses

    by Elaine

    Soft on the sunset sky
    Bright daylight closes,
    Leaving, when light doth die,
    Pale hues that mingling lie—
    Ashes of roses.

    When love's warm sun is set,
    Love's brightness closes;
    Eyes with hot tears are wet,
    In hearts there linger yet
    Ashes of roses.

  28. Garden Dusk

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    This stillness made of azure
    And veiled with lavender
    Must be my daylight garden
    Where all the pigeons were!

    Blue dusk upon my eyelids,
    Your drifting moods disclose
    The moth that is a flower,
    The wings that are a rose.

    Make haste, exhale your sweetness,
    For you must vanish soon:
    The garden will forget you
    At rising of the moon.

    A glory dawns predestined
    Of old to banish you
    And bind you fast with rainbows
    In dungeons of the dew.

    And who will then remember
    Your cool and gossamer art?
    Ah, never moon may exile
    Your beauty from my heart!

  29. Sunset in the Golden Gate

    by W. E. Hutchinson

    When day is done there falls a solemn hush:
    The birds are silent in their humble nest.
    Then comes the Master Artist with his brush,
    And paints with brilliant touch the golden west.

    The blended colors sweep across the sky,
    And add a halo at the close of day.
    Their roseate hues far-reaching banners fly,
    And gild the restless waters of the bay.

    Mount Tamalpais stands in purple 'tire
    Against the background, Phoenixlike, ornate:
    Apollo drives his chariot of fire
    Between the portals of the Golden Gate.

    No other hand than His who rules on high,
    Could wield the brush and spread such bright array
    Upon the outstretched canvas of the sky,
    Then draw the curtain of departing day.

  30. Amid the Pines at Sunset

    by Ada A. Mosher

    Aisles leaf-carpeted, and columned
    With the tall Corinthian pines,
    Lifting to a dome of golden
    Coronals of carving olden,
    Wrought in wonderous designs.

    Heaven's cathedral windows flashing
    Sunset splendors opaline,
    Silent, gem-like offertories,
    Tessellating with strange glories
    Long dim aisles of bronzèd green.

    Thro' the cloistered sanctuary
    Of this forest-temple stole
    Whispers of a Voluntary
    That spake strangely to my soul.

    'Mid pine pillars all aglisten
    In the gold and amethyst,
    Knelt I reverently to listen
    To the aged organist—

    To the Wind—that old musician,
    With the centuries in his heart,
    And sublimer sweep of vision
    Thro' wierd melodies Elysian
    Than Beethoven or Mozart.

    Neath his aged hands caressing
    Trembled all the leafy keys,
    As he breathed beyond our guessing
    Something like a soul's best blessing,
    Or a soul itself confessing
    In Aeolian harmonies.

    How the low sweet numbers pealing
    Forth in whispers silence-soft,
    Thrilled me as I heard them stealing
    All surcharged with tenderest feeling
    From the pine-top organ-loft!

    Grayer grew the gold; the dying
    Day's last smile was, trembling, caught
    On the leaves, then, westward flying,
    Left me in the gloaming, trying
    To divine his master-thought.

    Suddenly came shadows stealing
    Like the forms of phantom nuns,
    Long, grey veils of mist concealing
    Their pale, prayerful faces, kneeling
    At their Vesper orisons.

    Grander, holier inspirations,
    From the organ-tower dim,
    Poured in tremulous vibrations;
    Then I know that with the nation's
    Rose his benediction hymn.

    Knew a thousand altars glistened
    Thro' a cloud of frankincense,
    In the taper's starlight christened,
    While archangels hid and listened
    From the rose's redolence.

    Silent, ghostly hands erected
    A dream throne—ciborium,
    Nature poured a praise perfected,
    Each star flashing a reflected
    Lifted ostensorium.

  31. The Golden Sunset

    by Samuel Longfellow

    The golden sea its mirror spreads
    Beneath the golden skies,
    And but a narrow strip between
    Of earth and shadow lies.

    The cloud-like cliffs, the cliff-like clouds,
    Dissolved in glory, float,
    And midway of the radiant floods
    Hangs silently the boat.

    The sea is but another sky,
    The sky a sea as well,
    And which is earth and which the heavens
    The eye can scarcely tell.

    So when for me life's latest hour
    Soft passes to its end,
    May glory, born of earth and heaven,
    The earth and heaven blend.

    Flooded with light the spirits float,
    With silent rapture glow,
    Till where earth ends and heaven begins
    The soul shall scarcely know.