In the Evening

I have been for some time now been collecting translations of the poem ‘Im Abendrot’ by Joseph von Eichendorff. I discovered the poem through the Four Songs of Richard Strauss (of which it is the basis for the last and greatest) and it has been a constant source of inspiration for my growing interest in romanticism. So I was tremendously happy to be given a new interpretation / reimagining of the piece written by Neil Fulwood, who attended my Science Fiction and Politics workshops at Nottingham Contemporary. Here is the poem in full, and thanks to Neil for letting me reproduce it.

In the Evening (by Neil Fulwood)

Imagine: while driving home,
companionship and laughter left behind,
the village a string of lights
in the rearview mirror, you pull over

and turn the engine off,
then step out of the car and stand
on a verge of hardened soil,
the road unlit and signless at your back,

and look across the land
as dark comes on, the fields dull slabs
of earth which rise and level out
and stretch away. By day you’d see

a wealth of smaller things:
farmhouse chimneys capped with drifts
of smoke, the dotted lines
of boundaries marked by walls of stone;

and further still: a hint
of distant hills a county away,
and almost on the edge of sight,
a scythe of light on coastal water.

But you see it (imagine)
for the final time now, in the evening,
the small details that gave it life
stolen by an horizon brought nearer

by twilight, gathered up,
hidden beneath silence and darkness,
a silence that is absolute,
a darkness that takes the evening

and plucks from you
your valediction: the one name
that never left your heart,
a thing remembered even as it passes.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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