At first an exile’s tone when you recall
Whitstable’s Turner painted sunsets
admired each evening from sash windows
in your old flat with ‘best view in town’ of sea.
Decades working and playing continents away
from home town, but it is the ten-mile move
to my village house that makes you home sick.
Late afternoons I sometimes find you
standing staring out of front windows.
Initially I interpret your stance as
entrapment, regret, boredom,
and my happiness stumbles.
In reality, you are comparing sunsets,
expecting to find the village efforts inferior.
But my home’s serendipitous geometry
creates unrestricted views of horizon.
And you have grudgingly begun to concede that
most evenings we have show-stoppers here.
I brush down my happiness at this unexpected
finding in the village’s favour,
its virtuoso sunsets some compensation for
my semi’s dubious décor, small bed, no shower…
Yet in truth, twenty years teaching had me
head down over marking until 6pm
then tucked up in the back bedroom.
Consequently, I took such spectacles to be rarities
caught by me on weight loss walks
or when drawing the front curtains.
Now each dusk you turn away from TV
to enjoy the more compelling show,
call me from kitchen to share;
sun suspended like a giant J Arthur rank gong,
clouds massing in ark builder’s validation,
water colour, washed in TajMahal pinks, peaches, gold.
Thus, whilst you refer affectionately to Whitstable twilights
like an old lover you still have a soft spot for,
superlatives are switched to Our sunsets in the village.
Fiona Sinclair is the editor of the on line poetry magazine Message in a Bottle. Her sixth collection A talent for hats was published in March 2017. She lives in Kent with her husband and an imaginary dog.